House Appropriations Committee Democrats report on spending cuts

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee released a report last week that shows the impact of budget cuts made in discretionary spending in the past few years, including cuts related to public health preparedness.

The report, entitled "A Report on Discretionary Spending Reductions Since 2010," included cuts in health, defense, water infrastructure, social services, public safety and education.

The authors of the report said that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides grants and other aid to help local and state public health departments prepare more effectively for health incidents such as bioterrorist attacks and emergencies. The funding for the grants and other aid was cut by 14 percent since 2010, from $761 million in 2010 to $657 million in 2012.

"At the same time, appropriations for the CDC national stockpile of vaccines, drugs and supplies to deal with such events have been cut by 15 percent, from $596 million to $504 million," the report said. "Further, Department of Health and Human Services funding to help hospitals better prepare for disease outbreaks and mass casualty events has been cut by 11 percent, from $420 million to $375 million."

Grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to enhance state and local ability to prevent, respond to and recover from terrorism were also cut approximately 55 percent since 2010, from $3.015 billion to $1.35 billion.

"If we remain at this lower level, security measures in high threat urban areas will be slowed and communities of all sizes would not have the funding necessary to enhance their preparedness levels or harden port and transit facilities," the report said.

The authors of the report concluded that additional cuts scheduled for March 1 will add to the challenges addressed in the report, slow the recovery of the economy and hurt job creation.