By: Alexandra Sange
We blogged last week about Congressmen Bilirakis and Pallone’s letter of support for health centers in FY2012. Although the letter only circulated for a very short time (less than one week), it garnered 110 bipartisan signatures of support from House Members – 96 Democrats and 14 Republicans – a significant achievement in the current budgetary climate. As a testament to the great support of health centers, we know there were a handful of other Members who hoped to sign the letter but narrowly missed the Thursday deadline. In addition to the Bilirakis-Pallone letter, NACHC encouraged House Members to submit programmatic requests to the House Appropriations Committee, requesting $1.79 billion in discretionary funding for the Health Centers program in FY2012. Here in DC and out in the field, we heard commitments from more than 30 Members of Congress ready to submit programmatic requests for health center funding, with some sending in requests at higher funding levels.
Although we worked hard in DC to encourage House Members to sign the Bilirakis-Pallone letter, the credit for the support we saw goes to all of the grassroots advocates out in the field. Health center advocates nationwide generated countless calls and emails to Members and their staff to underscore the value and importance of the Health Centers program and urge their support in FY2012. This bipartisan show of support from Members of Congress is going to be critical as we continue to fight for health center funding in the coming fiscal year, so be sure to thank your Representative if they are one of the 110 who signed the letter.
Stay tuned for more updates on FY2012 health center funding as the House moves towards consideration of a Labor-Health and Human Services- Education Appropriations bill and the Senate gets started on its programmatic request process (deadline is June 10th). In the meantime, thanks again for all your hard work!