By: Anne Morris, MPH
The Senate Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Subcommittee on Appropriations has set Friday, June 10th at 5pm eastern time as the deadline for programmatic requests, or Senators’ conveying their support for programs within the Subcommittee’s purview. Given the challenging budget climate for all programs, the importance of individual Senators indicating their support for the Health Centers program cannot be overstated. As of this writing, your Senator can show his or her support for health centers by submitting an individual request letter to the Subcommittee – ideally at the discretionary funding level NACHC is recommending ($1.79 billion). We’ve previously discussed what this funding level will translate to, including extending cost-effective primary and preventive care services to over 3 million Americans. Health center supporters in the Senate are also preparing a sign-on letter that will likely circulate amongst Senators for their consideration in the coming week.
As you’ll recall from our last post on FY 2012 appropriations, Congressman Bilirakis and Congressman Pallone circulated a bipartisan sign-on letter in advance of the House Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee on Appropriations May 20th deadline for programmatic requests. While the formal deadline has passed, we have heard there are several Members who are still interested in conveying their support for health centers. As a result, Congressman Bilirakis and Congressman Pallone are collecting additional signatures to submit to the Subcommittee for its consideration. If your Representative was among those who did not sign the Bilirakis-Pallone letter, please ask that they consider signing on to the Bilirakis-Pallone letter to show their support for the Health Centers program as the Subcommittee drafts the FY 2012 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. Particularly for those offices who are concerned about the current fiscal climate, make sure they know the Bilirakis-Pallone letter does not include a specific funding ask but rather a general statement of support for the Health Centers program.
Process Moving Forward
Current indications from the Hill are that the House still plans to move forward with Subcommittee and Full Committee consideration of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill beginning in late July. There is no word as of yet as to when the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee will begin consideration of its bill.