Lawmakers cut flu money from stimulus

April 27, 2009
by Stephen Dinan
Washington Times

Congress over the past four years has trimmed spending aimed at fighting a flu pandemic, most recently in this year's stimulus bill, when a key House Democrat tried but failed to get his colleagues to include hundreds of millions of dollars.

Funding was reduced despite health specialists' calls for a continued stream of money to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health and Human Services Department and other agencies prepare for an outbreak.

According to Trust for America's Health, which pushes for preparedness for a pandemic, Congress appropriated $70 million in fiscal 2007, all of it for CDC, called for spending $155 million in 2008, all to CDC, and called for spending $741 million this year - $156 million to CDC, $78 million to HHS and $507 million to buy vaccines.

Trust for America's Health said states need an additional $350 million each year to maintain preparedness but that the nation is better able to handle an outbreak than it was four years ago because of the initial funding boost.

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