President Biden Releases Discretionary Funding Request, Signals Support for Academy Priorities

04/12/2021 - President Biden released on April 9 his FY22 appropriations request, which includes efforts to: promote racial equity; investment in public health; address climate change; and activate economic growth.

The President's proposal includes $769 billion in non-defense discretionary funding for fiscal year 2022, a 16% increase over the fiscal year 2021 enacted level, as well as $753 billion for national defense programs, a 1.7% increase. The request includes the following notable highlights:

Equity in Higher Education

The request promotes equity in higher education, which aligns with the Academy's advocacy work to diversify allied health professions. The appeal includes a $100 million increase in funding for programs that aim to expand participation in science and engineering for individuals from racial and ethnic groups, who are traditionally underrepresented in these fields. In a recent meeting with the Department of Education, the Academy confirmed that dietetics programs would be eligible for this funding. This funding would support: curriculum design; research on successful recruitment and retention methods; development of outreach or mentorship programs, fellowships and building science, engineering research and education capacity at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions that could be applied to nutrition and dietetics programs.

Public Health and Health Equity

  • Supports a strong nutrition safety net. The discretionary request provides $6.7 billion for critical nutrition programs, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, to help vulnerable families put nutritious food on the table and address racial disparities in maternal and child health outcomes. These funding levels would support an anticipated increase in participation in WIC and combat rising food insecurity, which has disproportionately harmed families of color.
  • Allocates $6.5 billion to launch the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. This funding is part of a $51 billion request for the National Institutes of Health to continue to support research that enhances health, lengthens life and reduces illness and disability with an initial focus on cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer's.
  • Strengthens national and global readiness for the next public health crisis through an $8.7 billion request for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and $905 million for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the Department of Health and Human Services. These funds would be used to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild and expand public health defenses to prevent, detect and respond to future biological threats.
  • Allocates $8.5 billion to promote health equity by investing in services for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The discretionary request proposes to begin redressing long-standing health inequities experienced by American Indians and Alaska Natives by significantly increasing funding for IHS.
  • Promotes health equity by addressing racial disparities. The discretionary request provides additional funding to increase the diversity of the health care workforce and expand access to culturally competent care. The discretionary request also includes $153 million for CDC’s Social Determinants of Health program, an increase of $150 million over the 2021 enacted level.
  • Provides funding to reduce the maternal mortality rate and end race-based disparities in maternal mortality. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, with a disproportionately high mortality rate for Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women. The discretionary request includes: more than $200 million to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates nationwide; bolster Maternal Mortality Review Committees; expand the Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies program; help cities place early childhood development experts in pediatrician offices with a high percentage of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program patients; implement implicit bias training for healthcare providers; and create state pregnancy medical home programs.
  • Enables older Americans and people with disabilities to live independently in their communities. The discretionary request provides additional resources for the Administration for Community Living to help older adults and people with disabilities maximize their independence and well-being. The request provides relief to caregivers and families, including: $551 million for home and community-based services; doubles funding for the Lifespan Respite Care program; increases resources for meal programs for older Americans; and expands services for individuals with disabilities.

Climate Change

  • Provide $4 billion to support critical research and development capacity for farmers. These investments in agricultural research would advance innovation and the application of science-based and data driven tools to put American technologies into the hands of farmers. In addition, the discretionary request provides an increase of $161 million above the 2021 enacted level to support a multi-agency initiative to integrate science-based tools into conservation planning in order to measure, monitor, report and verify carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas reduction, wildlife stewardship, and other environmental services at the farm level and on federal lands.
  • Provides more than $4 billion to advance climate science and sustainability research. The discretionary request proposes to improve understanding of the changing climate and inform adaptation and resilience measures.

Economic Growth

  • Expands access to affordable early child care and learning. The request includes $7.4 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, an increase of $1.5 billion over the 2021 enacted level, to expand access to quality, affordable child care, as well as an $11.9 billion investment in Head Start, a $1.2 billion increase, which would ensure more children start kindergarten ready to learn on day one. The Biden Administration would also work with states to ensure that these resources support increased wages for early educators and family child care providers.
  • Invests in a 21st century infrastructure. The discretionary request makes investments to: improve America’s highway, transit and rail systems nationwide; makes investments in safety, equity and climate change mitigation; and fosters neighborhood-oriented investments that modernize America’s infrastructure, reconnect communities and provide job opportunities.

The President's full budget will be released later this spring and will contain the administration’s detailed recommendations for discretionary funding. These requests signal the Biden Administration’s policy priorities for members of Congress as the appropriations committees begin their fiscal year 2022 funding process. This budget is a document that communicates the administration's policy agenda for the year, but Congress will set and approve spending levels. The Academy continues to advocate for strong annual funding for a variety of federal health and nutrition programs that improve public health, combat food insecurity and foster health equity.