The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is deeply troubled that the budget blueprint released today by the Trump administration proposes a $5.8 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and cuts to the Health and Human Services (HHS) emergency preparedness programs. Further, IDSA is very concerned that the blueprint proposes lifting sequestration only for defense—an unprecedented move that would further constrict non-defense spending in unspecified ways. IDSA appreciates that the budget blueprint includes an important new federal emergency response fund for outbreak response and cites as key priorities the Ryan White program and efforts to address opioid abuse, which has fueled new cases of HIV and hepatitis C.
Strengthening America’s role as the world leader in biomedical research and investing in the next generation of scientists are longstanding bipartisan priorities that have led to unrivalled health and economic benefits for the country. While it is unclear exactly how the $5.8 billion proposed cut to NIH would be apportioned, IDSA strongly opposes any funding cut to infectious diseases research and has serious concerns about the proposed elimination of the Fogarty International Center which has made many contributions to infectious disease education and training. NIH has led essential research to develop new vaccines in response to outbreaks, new tools to address antimicrobial resistance, and breakthroughs in HIV. We urge the administration and Congress to protect this important progress. We also recognize that the Department of Defense leads significant infectious diseases research, given that our military can be exposed to a wide array of dangerous pathogens throughout the world. We call upon the administration and Congress to protect this important funding as well.
IDSA also strongly supports the essential role of the CDC in keeping America safe from infectious diseases threats, including outbreaks and other emergencies, as well as everyday threats such as vaccine-preventable illnesses and antimicrobial resistance. IDSA has repeatedly called for the creation of a new public health emergency fund to ensure that the U.S. can respond rapidly to outbreaks, and we are pleased to see such a proposal included in the blueprint. However, many important details about CDC’s budget remain unclear. In particular, IDSA is concerned that cuts to preparedness funding would hamper state and local health departments’ abilities to prepare for and respond to a variety of issues, such as foodborne illnesses, influenza, and Zika. While we look forward to hearing more about the administration’s proposed public health block grants, we emphasize that this proposal should not result an overall reduction to CDC’s infectious diseases programs. We appreciate the President’s strong commitment to American infrastructure, and urge the administration to recognize the critical need for a robust public health infrastructure to maintain our safety from infectious diseases.
Lastly, IDSA underscores the fact that infectious diseases do not respect borders. Combating infectious diseases abroad is an essential component of protecting the U.S. We are pleased that the administration expressed an intention to honor U.S. commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as global immunization efforts while maintaining PEPFAR funding for patients currently receiving antiretroviral treatment, although the Administration’s commitment to maintaining PEPFAR’s overall budget is not clear.
IDSA looks forward to working with the administration and Congress to ensure that our federal budget reflects bipartisan priorities for protecting patients and public health from infectious diseases threats.
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