By: Anne Morris, MPH
We’re happy to announce that since our update on FY2012 Appropriations last week, Senator Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Boozman (R-AR) have partnered on a letter to the Senate Labor-Health and Human Services(HHS)-Education Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee to convey support for the Health Centers program in the FY2012 Appropriations process. This letter is yet another way for your Senators to convey their support for health centers, particularly during these challenging budgetary times. However, it is also important that as many Senators as possible include Health Centers among the programs they indicate are priorities in personal letters to or correspondence with the Committee – especially since the Stabenow-Boozman letter conveys general support for the program and does not include a specific funding level. The Senate Subcommittee has set Friday, June 10th at 5pm eastern time as the deadline for submission of programmatic requests. Senator Stabenow and Senator Boozman are asking that all interested Senators contact their offices to lend their support to the letter – ideally by close of business on Wednesday, June 8th – though there is a possibility that Senators can be added to the Stabenow-Boozman letter until noon (again, eastern time) on Thursday, June 9th.
We encourage all grassroots advocates to ask for their Senators’ support of health centers by signing on to the Stabenow-Boozman letter and submitting an individual programmatic request for health centers – ideally at the discretionary funding level NACHC is recommending ($1.79 billion). We’ve heard that many Senators on the Appropriations Committee may not sign group letters; however, it’s still important to gauge whether this might be a possibility – in addition to including health centers as one of the programmatic priorities that are communicated in a personal letter to the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee.
Shifting gears to the House, the Bilirakis-Pallone letter is still open for signatures. If your Representative has not yet signed the letter, please encourage him or her to consider doing so. Congressman Bilirakis and Congressman Pallone plan to send an addendum to the House Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee with additional signatures received after the Subcommittee’s May 20th deadline. As of right now, we expect this letter will be sent within the next week.
Please stay tuned to Health Centers on the Hill for all the latest on FY2012 Appropriations, and keep up the great work!