Biden funds would give CDC largest funding increase in practically 20 years

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris receive an update on the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as they visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., March 19, 2021.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

President Joe Biden’s first budget proposal would give the largest funding boost in nearly two decades to the agency most closely tracking the coronavirus pandemic, his administration said Friday.

The budget blueprint for fiscal 2022 would include $8.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to budget documents shared by the Office of Management and Budget.

The agency said that budget bump would build on the CDC investments doled out in the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan that Biden signed into law in March.

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The new funding would be used to “support core public health capacity improvements in States and Territories, modernize public health data collection nationwide, train new epidemiologists and other public health experts, and rebuild international capacity to detect, prepare for, and respond to emerging global threats,” the OMB said.

While the CDC funding request is a big increase from recent years, it comprises just a small slice of Biden’s $6 trillion budget proposal for 2022. The request wraps in funding for a double-barreled, multitrillion-dollar economic overhaul plan that the president unveiled earlier this year.

More than 33 million Covid infections, and at least 593,466 deaths, have been reported in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

From before Covid was even officially labeled a pandemic, the CDC has issued guidance on how to slow or prevent the spread of the virus in different environments, from summer camps to nursing homes. The agency has now issued and updated more than 200 guidance documents, its website shows.

But the budget proposal would go beyond funding the agency’s disease-focused work.

The budget materials say $153 million would be allocated for the CDC’s Social Determinants of Health program to work on “improving health equity and data collection for racial and ethnic populations.”

The government would also provide $100 million for the CDC’s Climate and Health program as part of a $1.2 billion investment in strengthening resilience to wildfires, floods, droughts and other climate-related disasters.

The budget request for the Health and Human Services Department would double firearm violence prevention research at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health.

Overall, HHS is requesting $133.7 billion in discretionary funding — a $25.3 billion, or 23.4%, bump from the enacted budget of fiscal 2021.

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