Congress to Pass Public Health Funding as Part of Omnibus Package

December 10, 2014|3:14 p.m.| Chris Gould

More than two months into the fiscal year, House and Senate appropriators finally have reached a compromise appropriations package to fund the government for the rest of FY 2015. Dubbed a "CRomnibus," because it is both a continuing resolution and an omnibus package for the year, it totals $1.013 trillion in spending, nearly identical to the top-line 2014 level of $1.012 trillion, and is expected to be considered on the House and Senate floors by the end of the week.

Since Oct. 1, the federal government has been funded through a continuing resolution at the FY 2014 spending levels, with a limited number of exceptions, including an additional $88 million for Ebola response activities at CDC, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and NIH. The current resolution expires on Thursday, Dec. 11, so a one- or two-day continuing resolution may be needed to allow passage by both chambers.

The Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill was one of the most difficult to complete and negotiations were kept private. The House never released its version of the bill and the Senate version was released by Sen. Tom Harkin (IA) but not marked up in committee. The FY 2015 bill is funded at $156.8 billion, identical to the FY 2014 level, and includes $30 billion at NIH and $6.9 billion at CDC.

Additionally, in November, President Obama requested $6.2 billion in emergency supplemental funds to support Ebola response activities in the United States and West Africa, including $1.83 billion at CDC and a $1.54 billion contingency fund split evenly between HHS and USAID. Ultimately, Congress agreed to approve a total of $5.4 billion in emergency supplemental funds for the Ebola response, with $2.7 billion for HHS, including $1.7 billion for CDC. Within this, notable domestic program funding includes: $155 million for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, $255 million for state and local response efforts, $10 million for worker training, and $114 million for migration or quarantine.

The following table shows how ASTHO's advocacy priorities will be funded for FY 15, as well as other public health programs of interest:

(Dollars in thousands)

ProgramFY 2014FY 2015 PresidentFY 2015 SenateFY 2015 Final Omnibus
Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant$160,000$0$160,000$160,000
National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program$35,000$24,000$35,000$34,904
Section 317 Immunization Program and Program Operations$612,000$560,000$612,000$610,847
Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreements$645,400$617,000$644,000$643,609
Diabetes$140,129$140,306$140,129$140,129
Heart Disease and Stroke$130,037$130,188$130,037$130,037
Hospital Preparedness Program$255,000$255,000$255,000$255,000
Core Infectious Diseases$218,000$249,700$248,000$225,000
Food Safety$40,100$50,100$40,000$47,993
Healthcare-Associated Infections/ National Healthcare Safety Network$30,100$32,100$44,000$30,032
Advanced Molecular Detection Initiative$30,000$30,000$30,000$30,000

Other public health programs of interest include:

  • REACH: $51 million (level to FY 14)
  • Lead Poisoning: $15.5 million (level to FY 14)
  • Epi and Lab Capacity: $40 million (level to FY 14)

Chris Gould is senior director, government relations at ASTHO and can be reached at cgould@astho.org.