Academy Letter to Appropriations Committee Fiscal Year 2018

March 8, 2018

The Honorable Thad Cochran
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Vice Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Cochran, Vice Chairman Leahy, Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Lowey:

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a nonpartisan organization representing more than 100,000 registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians, registered, urges the Appropriations Committee to invest in federal nutrition programs and public health programs by supporting a strong allocation for health programs to restore cuts and secure increases. Federal public health, nutrition and health research programs are critical to maintaining a healthy population.

Academy members play critical roles in public and community health, from improving community access to nutritious food to developing and implementing local and statewide interventions to reduce chronic diseases. As Congress wraps up work on an omnibus bill for Fiscal Year 2018, we urge you to work swiftly to:

  1. Pass omnibus legislation to complete appropriations for FY 2018. The annual appropriations process is vital to the federal government's ability to respond to the ever changing challenges that Americans face by providing additional or new federal funding for emerging needs, as well as cutting spending that is no longer needed. Continuing resolutions do not afford these necessary course corrections, and stall critical innovations in research that are vital to find treatments and cures to diseases. With the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, it is unnecessary to continue to pass a continuing resolution for the LHHS appropriations legislation. The FY 2018 legislation must address funding shortfalls across U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' agencies, programs and activities that have weakened the nation's public health readiness, stalled critical innovation in nutrition and health research and put Americans at risk for infectious and chronic diseases.
  2. Pass a clean appropriations bill for FY 2018. An omnibus appropriations bill should not be politicized by ideologically motivated policy riders, especially those that undermine public health. The inclusion of such riders in a spending bill would likely cause another government shutdown, which would only put Americans' health and well-being at unnecessary risk.

Public health is an essential pillar of national security and one that the government alone is equipped to provide. Congress must act now to invest critical resources in evidence-based public health programs that will improve the health, nutrition and food security for Americans – now and for generations to come.

Sincerely,

Donna S. Martin, EdS, RDN, LD, SNS, FAND
President, 2017-2018
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

CC: The Honorable Roy Blunt
The Honorable Patty Murray
The Honorable Tom Cole
The Honorable Rosa DeLauro