Do your part to support a strong 302(b) allocation

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Network faithful take note. Each year, the Committee on Education Funding, the Coalition for Health Funding, and the Campaign to Invest in America's Workforce partner to circulate a letter throughout our respective communities in support of strong 302(b) allocations for the House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees. The bigger the allocations, the better our chances of securing funding for these agencies and programs; or in the current environment, preventing further cuts.

The Children's Mental Health Network is a proud member of the Coalition for Health Funding and we wholeheartedly encourage all organizations who follow us faithfully to sign on to this letter that urges appropriators to provide the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees a FY 2015 "302(b)" allocation at the FY 2010 level of$163.6 billion. The letter also urges Congress to end sequestration and continue to work to find a balanced, meaningful approach to deficit reduction.

So why is signing this letter so important?

Okay, I can hear you saying, "But wait, our organization is going to fight solely for the discretionary program that benefits us most directly." Ah, but here is the rub with that approach. Without a strong 302(b) allocation for Labor-HHS-Education, there is very little chance of increasing funding for your priorities. And there is an even greater likelihood that your priorities will be cut. So keep up your advocacy and education efforts on behalf of your individual interests, but stratify your approach to include equal, if not greater, intensity on the bigger picture. Individual silo efforts will only weaken us all.

Still not convinced?
Then do the math. The 302(b) allocation is the amount of funding the Appropriations Committees provide to the subcommittees. The subcommittees then divvy up the funding between the agencies and programs within their respective jurisdictions. For the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees, health agencies include NIH, CDC, HRSA, AHRQ, and our beloved SAMHSA, among others. At this stage in the appropriations process, discretionary health programs are competing for funding with all of the other non-defense discretionary programs within the spending cap established by the BBA.

With the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (BBA) the top line discretionary 302(a) allocation has been set at $1.014 trillion, clearing the way for appropriators to move forward in making the 302(b) allocations to the subcommittees. A strong 302(b) allocation for Labor-HHS-Education increases the odds for funding those discretionary programs you are most passionate about.

Time is of the essence.
The goal is to secure more than 900 signatories so that there is widespread and diverse support for encouraging appropriators to provide the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittees a FY 2015 "302(b)" allocation at the FY 2010 level of$163.6 billion. Please note that in the interest of expediency, and as a courtesy to the hundreds or organizations that will sign, no editorial changes to the the letter will be accepted. Signers must agree to sign the letter "as is." As well, only organizations are signing - no individual signers on this one.

What happens once my organization signs? 
All signatures will be added to the letter and sent to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees mid-March. We will forward you a copy of the letter for your records. A copy will also be posted on the Coalition for Health Funding's website: www.publichealthfunding.org

What can I do to help with this effort? 
Sign on, and then forward this message and letter far and wide. Signatures are being accepted from national, state, and local organizations, institutions, businesses, companies, etc. Anyone and everyone who cares about funding for programs in the Labor-HHS-Education bill. Remember, only organization representative signatures on this one.

Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
Children's Mental Health Network

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