Group Calls on Congress to Markup Labor-HHS Bill

Sep 09, 2013, 09:53 ET from Association of Academic Health Centers

AAHC Urges Congress to Share How Funds will be Appropriated

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Congress returns to session today, the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) strongly urges the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations (Labor-HHS) Subcommittee to markup their fiscal year (FY) 2014 bill. The Labor-HHS bill represents the largest of the nondefense discretionary 302(b) allocations, and its programs and services impact every American.

The programs and services administered through this important appropriations bill serve a broad range of constituencies and needs, but they all share a common, fundamental goal of strengthening the nation by improving Americans' lives. "Taxpayers deserve to see how the Subcommittee plans to appropriate the funds that prepare workers for jobs, support research that discovers cures and treatments, and safeguard the health and safety of all Americans," said AAHC President and CEO Steven Wartman

Despite the breadth and depth of the Labor-HHS bill's impact, Congress fails to openly debate it under regular order. In fact, it has been more than 15 years since a Labor-HHS bill was enacted through regular order prior to the start of the fiscal year.

A public Labor-HHS markup is particularly important this year under the House's 302(b) allocation, which calls for an 18.6 percent cut to the FY 2013, post-sequestration funding level. In actual dollar terms, FY 2014 would be the smallest Labor-HHS bill since 2001. In reality, when adjusted for inflation the funding is 15 percent below FY 2001. Cuts of this magnitude—nearly four times greater than sequestration—require open debate.

"With so much at stake, elected officials must be willing to be held accountable for their decisions. The American taxpayer deserves no less," stated Wartman.

AAHC urges the Committee to release the FY14 Labor-HHS appropriations bill immediately and convene a markup as soon as possible.

The AAHC is a non-profit association dedicated to advancing health and well-being through the vigorous leadership of academic health centers.

SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers