Congress and the President made big news late last month when they agreed on a budget deal that partially rolls back cuts to non-defense discretionary spending (including funding for public health, education, and environmental protection). But there’s still a lot up in the air as we move into December.
While the overall budget guidelines are set through fiscal year 2017, Congress must now decide how to allocate funds across agencies. The deadline is December 11, when the current spending bill (an extension of last year’s funding levels) expires.
As Congress works to draft a spending bill, community prevention advocates need to stay vigilant. Draft appropriations bills developed earlier this year proposed eliminating vital sources of prevention funding, such as Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). That’s why Congress needs to hear from you TODAY.
Use this simple online tool to communicate with your legislators about the importance of investing in community prevention. Be sure to share stories of successful prevention efforts happening in your community.
More about PICH and REACH:
• PICH aims to improve community health and reduce the prevalence of chronic disease through local, multisector coalitions. PICH was authorized as a three-year initiative beginning in 2014. Click here to learn more about PICH efforts taking place near you.
• REACH was created in 1999 (and has been funded intermittently) to help communities address health inequities through culturally-appropriate, community-based interventions. Click here to learn more about REACH initiatives in your community.
Prevention and Public Health Fund, the latest:
While negotiations for federal government spending are underway, the Senate is simultaneously considering a separate budget reconciliation package (passed by the House on October 23) that would repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and defund Planned Parenthood. The bill faces pushback in the Senate both from lawmakers who oppose specific elements of the bill and those who don’t think it goes far enough, so it remains unclear whether there are enough lawmakers in support (51 are needed) to get the bill to the President’s desk. We’ll keep you updated as Congress contends with the reconciliation bill following Thanksgiving break.