Policymakers must stop proposing selective agency funding as a compromise solution

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Network faithful are encouraged to share today's press release by the Children's Mental Health Network with colleagues. We must speak out against piecemeal agency funding as a compromise solution to the current government shutdown. Congress needs to pass a government-wide continuing resolution that ends sequestration’s harmful cuts, once and for all.

Text of the press release is below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2013
Contact: Scott Bryant-Comstock
              scott@cmhnetwork.org
              919-219-2342

Policymakers Must Stop Selective Agency Funding
The Children’s Mental Health Network strongly opposes funding the government one agency at a time, especially when those bills lock in sequestration’s harmful cuts. We urge Congress to stop selectively picking certain priorities for funding—even if those include mental health—and move quickly to re-open the government.

The government shutdown has placed an unnecessary burden on the American people and puts their health at risk. As a result of the shutdown, more than 40,000 professionals from the Department of Health and Human Services are furloughed, including the majority of staff at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has stopped enrolling new patients in potentially life-saving, clinical trials. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has halted funding for research on the risks of deadly health care-associated infections. With more than 8,000 employees furloughed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ended its seasonal influenza program and significantly reduced its capacity to respond to outbreaks.

No one health agency is more essential than another. All agencies of the public health continuum—the NIH, CDC, SAMHSA, AHRQ, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Food and Drug Administration, and the Indian Health Service—are essential, working together to improve health.

Policymakers fail to protect Americans’ health when they pass piecemeal funding bills that re-open certain health agencies, and keep other health agencies closed.

While policymakers play politics, Americans suffer. Attempting damage control, agency-by-agency, is not sound fiscal policy. Congress must reject efforts to fund one program at a time and instead, pass a government-wide continuing resolution that ends sequestration’s harmful cuts, once and for all.

The Children’s Mental Health Network provides weekly news and unbiased analysis of key issues focused on children, youth and families’ mental health and well-being. For more information, visit www.cmhnetwork.org or follow us on Twitter, @CMHNetwork.

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