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NCSD Federal Policy Update - April 27, 2012

Once again the Prevention and Public Health Fund has found itself under attack and slated for cuts to pay for other federal spending changes. As a refresher, the Prevention and Public Health Fund is a critical prevention funding stream established to help shift the focus of the health care system to prevention rather than just treatment.  This fund received steep cuts earlier this year to partially off-set the cost of legislation that extended the payroll tax cut.

This week, to pay for H.R. 4628, the Interest Rate Reduction Act, the House of Representatives has proposed eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund and rescinding all of the funding for this year that has not yet been sent out to states and other entities.  H.R. 4628 is expected to be voted on by the full House of Representatives today.  Additionally, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a proposal earlier this week that eliminates the Prevention and Public Health fund in order to avoid some of the automatic cuts (referred to as “sequestration”) slated for January 2013 to reduce the deficit.  This is one of many suggested cuts coming from House Committees to defray the sequestration.  A full list of the cuts can be found here.

This move would have not only a negative effect on furthering prevention investments in our health care system but could also result in cuts to certain programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as State and Local Lab Efficiency and Sustainability, which the President has suggested to fund through the Prevention and Public Health Fund.  Click here to see all of the programs that the Prevention and Public Health Fund has supported since fiscal year 2010.

On general overall spending matters, the House and Senate Appropriation Committees passed their top line spending allotments for fiscal year 2013 this week.  As mentioned in past NCSD Federal Policy Updates, the House’s top line numbers for Appropriations bills are $19 billion lower than the Senate’s top line numbers. 

Specifically, the overall number for Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee (the subcommittee that funds the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) sees a $6.3 billion cut from last year in the House and a slight increase in the Senate.  In layman’s terms, this means that the House will be cutting health spending deeply while the Senate is likely going to hold the line on most programs, setting up another spending showdown later this year. 

The President’s budget request contains the same higher top line number that is used by the Senate (which both chambers of Congress and the President agreed to last August in the Budget and Control Act) and the President has stated that he will veto any bill a lower top-line number.  While work has begun on some spending bills, this work is unlikely to be finished until after the November election. 

But don’t worry, NCSD staff is eating their Wheaties and is (and will continue) to advocating strongly for the funding necessary for STD programs across the country and will continue to keep you updated through this long process.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact NCSD’s Manager, Policy and Communications, Stephanie Arnold Pang, at or 202-715-3865.