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Understanding the President's Budget

BudgetBackground on the budget
On February 13 the President delivered his budget for Fiscal Year 2013 to Congress. The budget serves as a blueprint for the President's spending priorities for all federal programs. It's important to note that the budget provides recommendations for how programs should be funded and serves as a starting point for negotiations between the President and Congress. The process of getting to a final budget is complicated. And while we don't know what the final product will look like, the President's budget serves as an important starting point to understand the impact the recommendations have on programs that impact our community.

Overview of the budget numbers
The President's budget calls for approximately $3.8 trillion in federal spending while cutting nearly $4 trillion from the deficit over 10 years. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which provides funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), was recommended to receive $76.4 billion in funding for FY 2013 -- a $300 million increase over the FY 2012 funding level.

Impact on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Of particular importance to the paralysis community are the budget's recommendations for the CDC. The CDC funds the Paralysis Resource Center (PRC), along with other critical disability programs, through the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). This year, the budget recommends approximately $5 billion in funding for the CDC, a $700 million decrease from the current funding level. NCBDDD received a recommended funding level of $126 million, a decrease of $11 million from $137 million.

In addition to the proposed cut for the NCBDDD, the budget also recommends changes in how programs are funded. The budget proposes to consolidate the Center's 25 programs into three, something the community fought against last year. Also troubling is the proposal in the budget to move most of the funding for the Center to an entity called the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). These changes could have a significant impact on disability programs and services that the disability community depends on -- specifically the PRC.

Potential Impact on the Paralysis Resource Center
Attempts to consolidate programs funded through the NCBDDD is not a new issue to our community. Last year, the President's budget recommended consolidating funding for NCBDDD programs, including the 10 individual disability programs that are funded through the Center, into three budget lines, rather than providing each individual program its own direct line of funding. This was concerning to our community because the budget did not provide direction on how the funds would be distributed to the programs and eliminated some programs entirely. Consolidating the budget in this way would have placed all 10 of the disability programs and those who depend on them each day at great risk.

In our effort to stop last years proposed consolidation, we worked with leaders in the disability community and with you to communicate to Congress the negative impact of consolidation and request they postpone plans to move forward. As a result of these efforts, the CDC announced that it would not move forward with consolidation of funding of disability programs through NCBDDD in 2012 and beyond.

Next Steps
The consolidation proposed by the President this year is very similar to what our community opposed and was successful in stopping last year. As the budget process moves forward, we will be updating you every step of the way on how to ensure critical disability programs, especially the PRC, are able to provide the services people depend on each day.

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Continue Christopher Reeve's LegacyPhoto by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders