Published March 12, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 12, 2019 – President Trump released the Administration's Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 budget, A Budget for a Better America: Promises Kept. Taypayers First, which proposes steep cuts that directly impact the health of the nation by eliminating essential programs under the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) strongly opposes decreasing federal dollars by this magnitude and believes that safeguarding the public is not only done through defense, but by supporting academic and public health efforts as well.
Under this budgetary proposal, there are discrepancies in the amount of proposed cuts to Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs. It appears that only the NURSE Corps is sustained at $83 million in FY 2020. The remaining Title VIII programs have been zeroed out, similar to other Title VII health professions programs. The critical research underway at the National Institutes of Health also would face severe disruptions with a nearly $5 billion proposed cut, which reduces the National Institute of Nursing Research's (NINR) budget by $23 million, bringing the total for NINR to $140 million in FY 2020.
"Federal funding for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development programs is essential to our nursing schools, students, and profession. Cuts to these programs directly impact the health of America and conflict with the academic nursing mission to prepare a highly-educated nursing workforce." said Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of AACN's Board of Directors.
Education and healthcare go hand in hand. This budgetary proposal misses the mark by cutting $8.5 billion from the Department of Education. AACN believes imperative that support for institutions of higher education are maintained and elevated, especially given the need to educate our nurses and a healthcare workforce to care for patients in all communities, including in rural and underserved areas.
"Supporting the growth of the nursing workforce is a necessary investment to ensure that the nurses educated today are ready for the challenges of tomorrow. Nursing is not immune to what would result in diminished financial support for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as our faculty and programs," says Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN President and Chief Executive Officer.
This budget continues the Administration's shift away from critical investments in the health care and higher education sectors. AACN, however, is encouraged to see that $80.2 billion was included to address veterans' health, where nurses and nursing students are on the frontlines providing care to our nation's veterans and families. AACN is reassured in the continued funding to combat the opioid epidemic, as a qualified and well-educated healthcare workforce is needed to treat those suffering from addiction.
AACN remains committed to working with Congress on restoring this critical funding for nursing workforce, research, and the education programs in FY 2020 and beyond.