Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

Putting together the federal budget is an arduous task. Department by department, suggestions for program funding increases and decreases are reviewed, discussed, analyzed, and submitted. Budget officials try to match the administration’s priorities and review the fiscal environment, not to mention craft spending items to gain support from Congress, which ultimately votes on the budget.

It’s an annual dance that requires acuity to finesse the pitfalls of the political arena. With the Trump administration’s agenda to decrease federal spending, most agencies are gearing up to tighten their financial belts. Budget decreases are going to have an impact on the nursing community. One of ONS’s coalitions is urging the administration and Congress to reconsider the cuts and the impact they will have on health care.

Programs slated for decreased spending include:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would see a 21% decrease or $17.9 billion less than the agency received in fiscal 2017.
  • Title VIII programs would be funded at $83 million, a cut of $145 million (nearly 64%) from previous years.
  • National Institute of Nursing Research was recommended at $146 million, cutting the institute’s budget by approximately $3 million.

This is just the opening salvo in ongoing budget negotiations, but it is a starting point. The healthcare community—with nurses as a leading voice—must advocate for programs that are important to providers and their patients with cancer.