American Heart Association Praises Senate Committee for Increasing NIH Funding, Supporting the CDC

September 08, 2017 Categories: Advocacy News

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 8, 2017 — The American Heart Association said today the Senate FY 2018 funding bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education will help our nation’s fight against cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) scored a big victory with this bill. The Senate committee recommended raising the NIH’s budget by $2 billion for the third year in a row, which includes $3.323 billion for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and $1.905 billion for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The Senate’s mark far exceeds the House’s $1.1 billion increase for the agency.

"We are pleased that the Senate committee rejected the administration’s $7 billion cut and instead gave another much-needed boost to the NIH's budget," said John J. Warner, M.D., president of the American Heart Association. "To advance life-saving research into heart disease and stroke, funding for the NIH must continue to grow. Now, more than ever, it is critical that this research be made a national priority because the burden of cardiovascular disease is growing faster than our ability to combat it. We hope that the final bill will include the full $2 billion increase for the NIH.”

Another positive outcome is that the Senate, like the House, rejected the president’s block grant proposal for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) chronic disease programs in its bill. This proposal would have greatly undermined the CDC’s focus and resources needed to stem the tide of cardiovascular disease. The association strongly advocated against a block grant and is pleased that the Senate also abandoned it. In addition, the committee rebuffed the administration’s request to end the Million Hearts program and, instead, allocated $4 million to the program, the same amount as the House. The Senate also agreed with the House on level funding for the WISEWOMAN program. Both the CDC’s tobacco prevention and control program and the nutrition and physical activity program fared better in the Senate bill, which gave both programs the same funding as FY 2017. The House’s version cut the programs’ funding by $50 million and $39 million respectively. We were also pleased that the Prevention and Public Health fund was preserved in the Senate’s bill.

“By 2035, it is estimated that nearly half the U.S. population will suffer from cardiovascular disease. Prevention is paramount to changing this projection, and CDC programs play a major role in that effort. The CDC’s important work across the country must be supported at all costs,” said Warner.

It was disappointing, however, that the Senate did not follow the House’s lead when it came to support for the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. The House allotted $6 million more for the division than FY 2017, while the Senate level-funded it. In addition, the Senate provided $450 million for Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, which is $50 million less than the House’s proposal. This is well below the $1.65 billion authorized amount and will limit schools’ ability to adequately fund their physical education activities, among other programs.

“Congress must keep in mind that CVD is the no. 1 and most costly killer of Americans, especially when it comes to funding decisions. Research and prevention remain two of our best weapons to end CVD for good, and should be supported accordingly. We implore our lawmakers to invest in the NIH, CDC and other valuable programs that can make a real difference in the fight against this burdensome disease,” said Warner.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke — the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the Association's science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Abbey Dively: abbey.dively@heart.org, 202-785-7905

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org