Academy Letter Urges Sufficient Funding for HHS and USDA

February 22, 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, the nation’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, urges you to ensure that proportional relief is included in the Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019 302(b) allocations that support the agencies and programs of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The recent bipartisan budget deal offers the opportunity to provide additional funding for important federal nutrition and public health programs.

While some agencies and programs within HHS and USDA have seen increases in recent years, tight budget caps and insufficient relief for the bills that support the departments — Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies &mdash ;have made it challenging for lawmakers to allocate the sufficient amount of funding necessary to support the full continuum of food and nutrition programs. Increases in some agencies and programs have led to cuts in others. And often, even programs that have received increases in funding are not able to keep pace with the nation’s current and emerging health needs. Discretionary funding for numerous programs remain below Fiscal Year 2010 levels, and investments in federal nutrition and public health programs remain too low overall.

Programs under HHS prevent and cure disease and disability, and promote well-being. Programs under USDA provide leadership on food, agriculture, rural development and nutrition. Both departments are critical in conducting research, delivering high-quality services and safeguarding our health. Our ability to respond to our nation’s current health demands and take on unexpected health needs as they arise requires strong and deliberate investments today. We ask that you consider the important role USDA and HHS play in improving the health and well-being of people in the United States. Strong investments will allow USDA and HHS to pave the way for new achievements that contribute to a strong and prosperous nation.

We urge Congress to demonstrate their commitment to keeping Americans healthy by providing at least proportional relief to the 302(b) allocations that support nutrition and public health.

Sincerely,   

Donna S. Martin, EdS, RDN, LD, SNS, FAND
President, 2017-2018