Paul Auwaerter, MD, MBA, President IDSA
The Infectious Diseases Society of America appreciates the support for urgent public health and research priorities demonstrated in the spending bills for fiscal year 2019 approved by subcommittees this week. Importantly, House appropriators soundly rejected White House proposals for global and domestic health program and biomedical research funding cuts that would threaten decades of progress in controlling infectious diseases.
We look forward to learning more about allocations to the Prevention and Public Health Fund and hope to see robust support for antimicrobial resistance responses, immunizations and other public health interventions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We also look forward to seeing funding allocations provided in last years’ bipartisan budget agreement to address the opioid epidemic. We urge Congress to direct some of these resources to address the infectious disease impacts from injection drug use.
Increased funding in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill released today for the National Institutes of Health, specifically for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the global health research and training Fogarty International Center, will be needed to drive advances in vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for infectious diseases, and to build the next generation of biomedical researchers. The bill sustains resources for the CDC Center for Global Health, reflecting an understanding that this is not the time to relinquish U.S. leadership against infectious diseases that threaten Americans at home and abroad. Increased funding provided in the bill for the CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention will be critical to confronting the rising rates of STDs while also expanding efforts against HIV and hepatitis C. Additional monies for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority can facilitate the development of urgently needed new antibiotics that address resistant pathogens. We welcome the establishment of the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund included in the bill, and hope that the $300 million allocated for this effort will be new funding that will strengthen our ability to swiftly address and contain outbreaks.
Earlier this week, the House Appropriations State and Foreign Operations and Related Agencies Subcommittee bill recognized a critical need for action against the world’s leading infectious disease killer as America prepares to take a lead role in September’s United Nations High Level Meeting on TB Elimination, with increased funding for global tuberculosis efforts at USAID. In addition, the bill’s sustained funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria demonstrates commitment to the gains against preventable and treatable illnesses that this country has led, and understanding that the stakes of continuing the progress we have made remain high.
Meeting the public health needs ahead through dedicated programs and research remains essential to our country. We urge the full House Appropriations Committee to recognize priorities reflected in the two subcommittee bills.