WASHINGTON, DC | March 16, 2017
The President's budget proposal to significantly cut funding for domestic spending programs would slash resources at critical federal health agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In response, Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, issued the following statement:
"The massive cuts detailed in the President's proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget will result in devastating consequences for Americans. Rather than making public health a priority, it places the health and safety of all Americans at risk.
"The FY 2018 President's Budget significantly shifts investments in our nation's health security in nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending to defense spending. NDD programs – including critical public health programs at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – have been subject to repeated cuts over the past six years, including through the appropriations caps and sequestration process established by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
"The cuts proposed in this 'skinny budget' will starve our nation's biomedical research and public health infrastructure. While the blueprint released by the President is short on details, it clearly threatens the lung health of our nation. Congress must reject this budget and start anew with a balanced approach that protects vital health programs in HHS and at EPA.
"Cuts to key lung health programs at EPA and HHS make Americans less secure and less protected from known health threats. Specifically, cuts to the agencies listed below would result in the following:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): a 31 percent cut to EPA would dramatically weaken our nation's ability to clean up air pollution under the Clean Air Act, a law that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the past four decades. The proposed budget reductions would curtail the ability of states and local governments to meet their obligations to improve air quality and eliminate funding to address climate change through the Clean Power Plan and other climate programs – leading to more asthma attacks and premature deaths caused by air pollution.
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): an 18 percent cut to the Department of Health and Human Services would jeopardize America's health security. The President's budget proposes to cut the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $5.8 billion to $25.9 billion. This devastating cut will significantly reduce researchers' ability to find better treatments and improved early detection methods for lung cancer and other lung diseases. It would dramatically reduce the capacity of lung health research efforts, resulting in fewer breakthroughs in the fight for better treatments and detection of lung cancer, COPD, asthma, influenza and other lung diseases. The proposed budget includes a radical change to the CDC, replacing program-specific funding with new block grants. This approach could have devastating impacts on state asthma programs, tobacco prevention and cessation and tuberculosis control
"The federal budget supports core programs that protect the health of Americans. The drastic cuts proposed to federal public health and biomedical infrastructure in the President's budget would weaken our nation's health security and result in more lives lost to lung diseases.
"The American Lung Association is committed to working with Congress to ensure that support for our nation's public health, environmental protection and biomedical infrastructure remains sound, so that all Americans live healthier lives."
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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