Federal Budget Debates Leave Falls Prevention Funding Hanging
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Federal Budget Debates Leave Falls Prevention Funding Hanging

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March 20, 2013

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Before leaving for spring recess, Congress is trying to both finalize FY 2013 funding (which started over five months ago) and set priorities for FY 2014.

Lawmakers are poised to pass a final FY13 spending bill and send it to the President in time to avert a government shutdown on March 28 and provide funding for the rest of the fiscal year.

Similar to last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other Department of Health & Human Services agencies will be funded by a “modified" continuing resolution (CR). This simply provides level funding for the vast majority of programs and makes a limited number of policy changes.

While the CR protects the base amount of funding for falls prevention, it does not include the Senate’s instructions for allocating funding from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. NCOA continues to urge Congressional leaders to include the Senate-proposed Fund allocation of $3 million for the CDC and $7 million for Administration for Community Living (ACL) for falls prevention.

At the same time, however, FY13 funding will be cut across-the-board by the sequester that took effect March 1. The CDC will be subject to a 5% cut, but it’s unclear how that will translate into reductions at the Injury Center or for falls prevention.

The Prevention and Public Health Fund also is subject to the sequester, but it’s uncertain how the cut will be absorbed and what it might mean for new funding like falls.

Looking Ahead

As for FY14, both the House and Senate are expected to pass their own versions of a budget resolution this week. The resolutions are non-binding blueprints that set spending targets and call for policy changes.

The House resolution, from House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), would cancel the sequester only for defense spending. It would keep the sequester in effect for non-defense discretionary programs like falls prevention and the Older Americans Act AND would cut another $700 billion from this part of the budget over the next 10 years. The plan also would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and, with it, the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

The Senate resolution from Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) would eliminate the sequester completely and retain the ACA. It calls for nearly $400 billion in reductions in discretionary spending over the next 10 years, but two-thirds of it would come from defense.

Congressional leaders will likely take initial steps to negotiate a compromise between the House and Senate budget resolutions, but it's widely expected they will not succeed. Nevertheless, the proposals in these measures are expected to arise in budget debates throughout the year.

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