Did Donald Trump Cut the CDC Budget?

Overall funding has increased every year.

Hillary Clinton appeared on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday and claimed that President Donald Trump had cut funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

 “The Centers for Disease Control had been given the responsibility under the Obama administration to be vigilant and try to get ahead of where viruses like this were formulating, especially if they were animal-to-people transmission viruses, so there was a lot that was done under the Obama administration,” said Clinton.

“The Trump administration severely cut back the CDC budget, cut back on this program of overseas vigilance, but I don't think it's a time to point fingers whether it's from the past or from the present.”

Hillary Clinton is hardly the first person to make this claim. Other Democratic politicians, including the party’s frontrunner for presidential nominee Joe Biden, have made the same assertion. Michael Bloomberg accused Trump of “slash[ing] funding of the CDC and other essential health agencies,” Rep. Adam Schiff tweeted that “The Trump Administration has slashed CDC funding,” and Sen. Brian Schatz claimed “Trump cut CDC by 9 percent.”

However, while Trump has attempted to cut funding to the CDC, overall funding to the agency has increased under the Trump administration.

Since assuming office in 2017, Trump has sent four budget proposals to Congress. Each one requested a decrease in funding for the CDC—you can view the budget numbers here: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021. Congress has not yet passed a budget for this year, but Trump has signed a budget that increased funding for the CDC every year he’s been in office.

Last week, Congress reached a bipartisan deal giving an additional $8.3 billion to the CDC in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus, $5.5 billion more than the Trump administration had initially requested. The bill was signed into law by the president on Friday. 

Clinton is, however, correct in saying that under Trump the CDC “cut back on this program of overseas vigilance.” The CDC decided to end epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of the 49 foreign countries it was active in due to a predicted absence of funding for the programs, even as funding for other CDC activities increased.

Photograph by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images.

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