Government Affairs

Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Protects Nursing Education and Research Funding

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On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved their Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 appropriations bill by a vote of 10-7. The entire spending package is funded at $158.8 billion, which is consistent with the levels set by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011. As you recall, the BCA was enacted to decrease the national deficit and set spending limits for discretionary programs through 2021.

The Senate LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee bill included level funding ($231.948 million) for the Nursing Workforce Development programs (Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act). While AACN and the Nursing Community requested $251 million for Title VIII in FY 2013, we are grateful that the Subcommittee members protected nursing education in this extremely tight fiscal climate. Clearly, the Subcommittee recognized the demand for and effectiveness of the Title VIII programs to address our nation's healthcare needs.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) received a total of $30.723 billion, which is a $100 million increase over FY 2012. This is 0.33% more than the President's recommendation for FY 2013. Within the NIH budget, the Subcommittee provided the National Institute of Nursing Research $144.590 million, which is a slight increase from FY 2012 ($144.579 million).

In preparation for the Subcommittee mark-up, a letter signed by AACN President Jane Kirschling was sent reemphasizing our funding requests for FY 2013. AACN also joined with 49 other national nursing organizations through the work of the Nursing Community to support nursing programs for FY 2013. Most importantly, through an action alert targeted at AACN members with Senators on the LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee, 16 of the 18 Subcommittee members received at least one message from a constituent in their state asking them to support nursing programs.

For more information on AACN's appropriations advocacy, including the letters recently sent to the Subcommittee, see: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/government-affairs/appropriations.

For more a summary on the Subcommittee Mark-Up, see: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=3c7490eb-8227-4152-84ea-2d65b683accf.

The full Senate Appropriations Committee is slated to consider the LHHS-ED Appropriations bill on Thursday, June 14, where it is expected to pass. It is rumored that the House LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee will take up their bill as early as next week. The House LHHS-ED appropriations bill is $8 billion less than the Senate version. Advocacy for nursing programs will be crucial in the House.

As you know, these levels are not final as Congress continues to work through the appropriations cycle. If AACN can answer any questions on the process, please contact Suzanne Miyamoto, Director of Government Affairs at smiyamoto@aacn.nche.edu. Thank you for your continued advocacy!