Congress Rebukes Trumps Bid To Slash Cdc Funding Amid Outbreak
By: Robin Bravender– March 11, 2020 9:15 am
Rep. Mark Pocan
WASHINGTON U.S. House lawmakers resoundingly rebuffed a Trump administration request to cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amid the coronavirus crisis.
The CDC director testified Tuesday before the House Appropriations Committee, where Republicans and Democrats alike said Congress wont comply with the budget cuts requested in Trumps fiscal year 2021 spending plan. The White House proposed to cut CDCs overall spending by 9% in the next fiscal year.
This subcommittee will not be pursuing the administrations proposed cuts. To cut from our public health infrastructure during an outbreak is beyond consideration, said Rep. Rosa DeLauro , the chairwoman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the CDCs budget.
Instead, Congress will aim to funnel more money into the CDC and the nations public health system, she added. We will not lurch from crisis to crisis and lapse into complacency in between. We cannot. This coronavirus outbreak makes that clear.
Rep. Tom Cole , the top Republican on the subcommittee, agreed. Im quite sure that we wont be cutting the CDC anytime soon. I suspect quite the opposite, Cole told the CDC director.
The answer is different in different areas, Redfield said. Were in a containment in certain areas. I would say in general were in a containment, blended mitigation, in some areas were in high mitigation.
I cant predict, Redfield told her.
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Asked about the criticism at a House budget hearing Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that, during the presidents tenure, every part of our preparedness and infectious disease program activity has been enhanced and expanded.
Azar went on the say the presidents budget proposals are just the jumping-off point for budget negotiations.
Partly False: President Donald Trump Cut Funding To The Cdc Fired The Pandemic Response Team Refused Who Tests And Wasted Two Weeks Calling This Outbreak A Democrat Hoax
Explanation: Trump did attempt to cut the CDCs funding, but Congress prevented it from happening. While officials in charge of the U.S. response to pandemics did leave in 2018, its unclear if they were fired. The U.S. was not on a list of countries receiving COVID-19 tests from the WHO. But the U.S. does not usually rely on the agency for diagnostic tests, and the testing delay was due mainly to an error with the CDCs protocol. While Trump has called the Democratic response to the coronavirus a hoax, he has not used the term to describe the virus itself.
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Trump Proposes 16% Cut To Cdc As Global Number Of Coronavirus Infections And Deaths Rise
An additional 34% reduction is proposed for overall global health programs, but Trump is asking for … $115 million to be set aside for global health security.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Topline: As the coronavirus continues to spread, President Trumps proposed 2021 budget calls for drastic cuts to funding for the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization that critics say could prevent preparedness for a pandemic at home.
Chief critics: The Senate Budget Committee as the ranking member) said Trumps budget would destroy discretionary programs cutting them by $1.9 trillion. These are things like Section 8, Head Start, WIC, LIHEAP, public housing, NOAA, NIH, NASA, NSF, the CDCmost of the programs that we think of when we think of what the government does. And James Hamblin, a doctor who writes for The Atlantic, that the budget doesnt consider pandemic preparedness a matter of national security.
What to watch for: How Trump and his administration continue to respond to coronavirus. During a Monday speech in New Hampshire, Trump said, By April . . . when it gets a little warmer, miraculously goes away, a theory debunked by infectious disease experts. The president is a known germaphobe, and experts are concerned that Trumps phobia, combined with his suspicions of foreigners and previous dismissals of the validity of science, could be dangerous.
Trump Reverses On Request To Cut Cdc Niaid Funding
After weeks of criticism, the Trump administration has reversed course on its request to cut funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in its 2021 budget.
This FY 2021 Budget amendment increases funding for CDC to ensure that the Agency has the resources beginning October 1, 2020, to continue its critical public health mission, White House Budget Chief Russ Vought wrote to Congress in a letter dated Tuesday.
Just last week, Vought doubled down on the administrations request to cut health funds in the 2021 budget, telling a House Appropriations subcommittee that no, Im not sending up a budget amendment.
The administration had proposed cutting $1.2 billion from the CDC and $451 million from NIAID as compared to current funding.
In his Tuesday letter, Vought sought to increase CDC funding to $8.3 billion, about $100 million more than current levels, as well as a $440 million increase to the NIAID, a touch below current funding levels.
NIAID head Dr. Anthony Fauci, a career expert, has become one of the administrations most trusted spokesmen on the coronavirus.
Congress has largely ignored Trumps proposed annual cuts to a slew of government agencies and programs, and appeared set to dismiss the budget proposal, which itself abrogated a spending deal reached with Congressional Democrats last summer.
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Budgets are like the first move in a chess game with, Ill be honest, a fairly profligate Congress, Azar said. And the president starts that move with a budget knowing that were going to get a lot higher there as we work with Congress.
As health officials gear up to confront a potential outbreak, the administration is asking Congress to authorize an additional $2.5 billion in supplemental funding for 2020 aimed at accelerating vaccine development and other containment measures. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has suggested that figure is not sufficient, and Congress should allocate an additional $8.5 billion for fighting coronavirus.
But its not just the presidents budget proposals that are under the microscope as fears of a new coronavirus outbreak mount. Bloomberg also took aim at Trump for eliminating a position from the National Security Council responsible for coordinating administration efforts to combat infectious disease.
The Proposal Cuts Funds For Preparedness Infectious Disease And Chronic Conditions
by Beth Mole – Feb 11, 2020 8:37 pm UTC
Amid an explosive outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China that has killed over 1,000 and sickened over 43,000 worldwide, US President Donald Trump proposed a nearly 19 percent budget cut to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionthe agency primarily tasked with preparing for and responding to such outbreaks and other serious health threats.
In the presidents proposed 2021 federal budget released Monday, the administration says that the changes to the CDCs funding are intended to re-focus CDCs core mission on preventing and controlling infectious diseases and other emerging public health issues, such as opioids.
The proposal reduces and consolidates CDC funding for programs under the chronic disease prevention and health promotion category. That includes programs addressing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, tobacco use, stroke, nutrition, physical activity, and arthritis.
Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Trump proposes cutting roughly $427 million in funding for the chronic disease categorya roughly 34.5 percent drop from enacted 2020 spending.
Areas of the CDCs budget that Trump proposed increasing included programs for influenza planning and response, tick-borne diseases, HIV/AIDS, and the opioid epidemic.
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Budget Would Thwart Progress
A few medical groups on Monday quickly criticized Trump’s proposals.
“In a time where our nation continues to face significant public health challenges including 2019 novel coronavirus, climate change, gun violence and costly chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer the administration should be investing more resources in better health, not cutting federal health budgets,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, in a statement.
David J. Skorton, MD, chief executive and president of the Association of American Medical Colleges also urged increased investment in fighting disease.
“We must continue the bipartisan budget trajectory set forth by Congress over the last several years, not reverse course,” Skorton said in a statement.
Trump’s proposed cuts in medical research “would thwart scientific progress on strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure medical conditions that affect countless patients nationwide,” he said.
In total, the new 2021 appropriations for HHS would fall by $9.46 billion to $85.667 billion under Trump’s proposal. Appropriations, also called discretionary budget authority, represents the operating budgets for federal agencies. These are decided through annual spending bills.
Congress has separate sets of laws for handling payments the federal government makes through Medicare and Medicaid. These are known as mandatory spending.
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The senators requested a response by Feb. 27, but the NSC did meet that deadline, nor did it respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
Retired Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer held the position of senior director for global health security and biodefense on the NSC from April 2017 to July 2018. He previously coordinated the Presidents Malaria Initiative under President George W. Bush, and is now the senior deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at the US Agency for International Development .
Cutbacks at that agency under the Trump administration are also receiving new scrutiny.
Last year, the USAID program known as PREDICT was shuttered. The initiative was launched in 2009 and designed to improve the detection and discovery of zoonotic viruses with pandemic potential. The program is credited with identifying nearly a thousand new zoonotic viruses, which are transmitted between animals and humans, and influencing the response effort currently being employed to combat the coronavirus, which is a zoonotic infection.
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Another official said that some in the White House had learned of the C.D.C.s plans to distribute new guidance only on Tuesday, when Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the agencys director, told governors about it in a call led by Mr. Pence. Dr. Redfield said on Wednesday that Americans should not interpret C.D.C. guidelines as requirements.
In taking on defiant educators, Mr. Trump invoked the one lever he had federal funding to impose his will on schools, which are traditionally run by localities and states.
In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS, Mr. Trump . The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!
Massive Cuts To Science And Medicine In Trump Budget
The budget proposed by United States President Donald Trump calls for massive cuts to spending on medical and scientific research, public health and disease-prevention programs, and health insurance for low-income Americans and their children. It has drawn intense criticism from many corners, including scientists, physicians and politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties. The only good thing about this horror of a budget, according to one pundit, is that it will likely get eviscerated in Congress.
Under the proposed budget, formally delivered to Congress yesterday, the National Institutes of Health would see its annual budget shrink 18% from $31.8 billion to $26 billion. This includes cuts to the National Cancer Institute , National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute , and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would lose 17% of its budget, a cut of $1.2 billion. This news prompted former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden to and rebuke this assault on science that will devastate programs that protect Americans from many deadly conditions, including diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. He noted that the cuts would give the CDC its lowest budget in 20 years and lead to an increase in illness and deaths.
Deep cuts to science and medicine in Trump budget draw intense criticism.
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Team Trump Pushes Congress To Cut Funds For Virus Testing Cdc
Exactly one month ago today, Donald Trump spoke to a modest crowd of supporters in Tulsa, where he added a rhetorical flourish to his routine criticism against coronavirus testing. “Testing is a double-edged sword,” the president said, adding, “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases, so I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.'”
White House officials quickly insisted that Trump was simply kidding — the remarks were “made in jest,” Kayleigh McEnany insisted yesterday — though the president himself argued to reporters that he was quite sincere.
To be sure, there’s little to suggest the administration took deliberate steps to “slow the testing down” at Trump’s behest, but the president’s incessant arguments against testing have brought the White House to a truly bizarre place. The Washington Postreported over the weekend:
The Trump administration is trying to block billions of dollars for states to conduct testing and contact tracing in the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, people involved in the talks said Saturday. The administration is also trying to block billions of dollars that GOP senators want to allocate for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and billions more for the Pentagon and State Department to address the pandemic at home and abroad, the people said.
Four months later, however, Team Trump has apparently returned to its pre-COVID-19 position.
Watch this space.
Cutting Funds And Staff
Every year since taking office, Trump has asked for deep cuts into research on emerging diseases including the CDCs small center on emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases that jump the species barrier from animals to humans. The new coronavirus is just the latest example of these threats.
The CDCs program focuses on infectious diseases ranging from foodborne illnesses to anthrax and Ebola. It manages laboratory, epidemiologic, analytic and prevention programs, and collaborates with state and local health departments, other federal government agencies, industry and foreign ministries of health.
In 2018, Trump tried to cut $65 million from this budget a 10% reduction. In 2019, he sought a 19% reduction. For 2020, he proposed to cut federal spending on emerging infectious and zoonotic diseases . This would mean spending $100 million less in 2020 to study how such diseases infect humans than the U.S. did just two years ago.
Congress reinstated most of this funding, with bipartisan support. But the overall level of appropriations for relevant CDC programs is still 10% below what the U.S. spent in 2016, adjusting for inflation.
Dr. James Wilson, who led the team that provided warning of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, describes the need for global infectious disease forecasting.
There is no wall high enough to keep virulent pathogens from crossing national borders, and when they emerge there is a potential for widespread illness and death.
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Covid Pandemic Slashes Life Expectancy Heres Where It Fell The Most
Key background: Trumps budget proposals have historically taken aim at science funding, although the 2021 proposal amps up spending for NASAto get astronauts back on the moonand to build the National Quantum Internet, which would theoretically be impossible to hack, according to the Post. Including HHS and the CDC, other programs possibly facing deep cuts include affordable housing, student loan assistance, Medicaid and food stamps. But the budget will wend its way through the Congressional Budget Office, as well as House and Senate committees and subcommittees, before any dollar amounts are approved by Congress. Presidents budgets are a reflection of administration priorities, but in the end, they are just a list of suggestions, Sen. Michael M. Enzi , who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, told the New York Times Monday.
Tangent: WHO said the coronavirus new name, Covid-19, which comes from coronavirus disease and the year in which it was discovered, was chosen to avoid stigma based on geographical location, the name of an animal, a person or a group of people.
Did Donald Trump Fire Pandemic Officials Defund Cdc
If Your Time is short
- Fired may be a little strong, but in 2018, top national security officials handling pandemics left abruptly and were not replaced by the Trump administration.
- As for funding, theres no question that the Trump administration sought to cut key CDC budget categories. But thanks to Congress, that funding was restored and even increased in bills that Trump ultimately signed.
During a CNN town hall before the South Carolina primary, Mike Bloomberg a former New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate was asked whether he had confidence in President Donald Trump to handle a potential coronavirus pandemic, officially known as the COVID-19 virus.
After jokingly saying, “I feel so much better,” Bloomberg told the audience, “No. 1, he fired the pandemic team two years ago. No. 2, he’s been defunding the Centers for Disease Control. So, we don’t have the experts in place that we need. I hope he’s right that the virus doesn’t come here, that nobody gets sick. That would be a wonderful outcome. But the bottom line is, we are not ready for this kind of thing.”
Bloomberg had a point that the Trump administration ousted some of its officials dealing with global pandemics, but “defunding” the CDC is more complicated than he let on.
Instead, Trump has looked within his administration to fill roles for the coronavirus response.
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