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Public Health Funding

Appropriations bills fund the government. Every year, one of the main functions of Congress is to pass 12 appropriations bills before the start of the fiscal year on October 1.

In recent years, when Congress has failed to pass the bills before this deadline, they must pass a continuing resolution (CR) which funds government agencies at the previous year's funding levels, or the federal government shuts down.  

The Budget Committees in the House and the Senate are responsible for writing nonbinding budget resolutions that serve as the basis for allocations for the 12 appropriations subcommittees. Each subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee has its own jurisdiction: most U.S. Department of Health and Human Services programs (including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention programs) are under the jurisdiction of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children program are under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee. (See below for links to committees and subcommittees important to public health.)

Under regular order, the 12 appropriations bills are assembled and passed by House subcommittees and by the full Appropriations Committee before being sent to the House floor for consideration. Appropriations bills that pass the House are sent to the Senate. House and Senate bills that differ have to be reconciled and the language identical before it can be passed on to the president for signature.

However, in recent years, this regular order rarely happens, and more commonly, a continuing resolution or "CR" is passed to keep the government running well into the next fiscal year. Several appropriations bills can be combined in an "omnibus" bill to speed the process once the next fiscal year has started. NACCHO provides information about the appropriations bills for the current fiscal year. More »

Important Players in the Appropriations Process