Congress Has Another Opportunity to Kill a Wasteful and Unnecessary CDC Program

David Williams

December 13, 2011

On October 11, 2011, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance urged the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to defund Community Transformation Grants (CTG) funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The Prevention and Public Health Fund, which funds this CDC program along with its predecessor, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, was originally created under the stimulus bill. So far, the government has put more than $1 billion towards these “wellness” programs under The Prevention and Public Health Fund (read previous blog postings here and here).  Now, taxpayers have another shot at defunding the program.  With less than two weeks before Christmas, taxpayers will find out which members of Congress have been naughty and which have been nice.  One way to ensure a coal-less stocking would be to defund CTG.  Congress has that opportunity today as they vote on the payroll tax cut in the House that contains a provision to defund CTG’s to offset the tax cut.

Grants given under The Prevention and Public Health Fund have promoted “counter-advertising” against products such as soda drinks, high-fat snacks, trans-fat, sodium and tobacco.  Additionally, these grants have recommended zoning changes to locate fast food restaurants away from schools. So far, the government has put more than $1 billion towards these “wellness” programs under The Prevention and Public Health Fund.  Some funded activities have included:

 

  1. $3,000,000 to label calories on restaurant menus in New York
  2. $1,000,000 to the Boston Public Health Commission to “support the successful implementation of the state’s calorie posting regulation”
  3. $63,265 to the Cascade Bicycle Club, Washington, for “Complete Streets” which will “emphasize that new and reconstructed roadways meet the safety and mobility needs of all travelers…”

 

Despite the fact that the program is restricted from financing lobbying activities, grant money was awarded to the state health department in Wisconsin to hire lobbyists to push a “wellness” agenda at the local level.  According to CDC’s website, “Applicants should be aware of restrictions on the use of HHS funds for lobbying of Federal or State legislative bodies. Under the provisions of 31 U.S.C. Section 1352, recipients (and their sub-tier contractors) are prohibited from using appropriated Federal funds (other than profits from a Federal contract) for lobbying congress or any Federal agency in connection with the award of a particular contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or loan.”

The CDC is spending millions of tax dollars to influence what Americans should eat and how they should change their behavior and there is no end in sight.  On top of the loss of personal freedom, taxpayers can’t afford the program.  Government must provide essential services, and The Prevention and Public Health Fund can’t be classified as anything close to necessary. It is the epitome of why our country’s budget deficit is unmanageable.

Now is the time for Congress to kill this program.

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