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White House Budget Cuts Vital Domestic And Global Public Health Programs

Proposed cuts to infectious disease funding would put public at risk, and ignore challenges of novel coronavirus outbreak

President Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget cuts funding for many large-scale health programs and federal agencies, potentially leaving the United States vulnerable to infectious disease outbreaks. According to experts at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, $2.9 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health and $708 million in cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strain America’s ability to adequately combat current outbreaks and prepare for future ones.

While IDSA commends the president’s investments in efforts to combat the opioid crisis with $58 million in funding earmarked for opioid use-related infections, to confront America’s HIV epidemic with $716 million in funding for essential HIV responses, and to address vector borne diseases such as Lyme disease with $66 million in funding for those efforts, the cuts proposed to other priority programs critical to combating infectious diseases would challenge efforts to protect Americans from public health threats. 

IDSA experts identified five areas as deeply underfunded in the FY2021 budget:

  1. Antimicrobial resistance— with underfunding for critical research and support for a pipeline of new antibiotics to meet the increase in infections and deaths from drug-resistant pathogens and with cuts to public health interventions designed to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use and support surveillance
  2. NIH research — with reduced funding for the next generation of infectious disease researchers and breakthroughs in vaccine, diagnostic, and therapeutic development.
  3. Global health security — while providing increased 2021 funding for CDC, the proposal would cut funding for USAID, at a time when more money is critically needed to combat emerging infections worldwide, including coronavirus, Ebola and other emerging zoonotic infections, and to support global immunizations, particularly for resurging threats such as measles and polio.
  4. Global HIV epidemic — with cuts of more than $1 billion for global HIV programs, that would leave 1 million people worldwide without medicine that prevents illnesses and transmission of the virus.
  5. CDC vaccine programs – while providing increased funding to implement the administration’s influenza executive order, and resources to address acute flaccid myelitis, the proposal flat funds the immunization program critical to preventing vaccine-preventable deaths.

IDSA encourages Congress to increase the federal commitment to combatting a multitude of serious infectious disease challenges.


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About IDSA
IDSA is an organization of physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to promoting health through excellence in infectious diseases research, education, prevention, and patient care. The society, which has over 12,000 members, was founded in 1963 and is based in Arlington, Va. See more at:


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