ASPR Testifies Before Congress on POTUS’ Fiscal Year 2024 Budget



On April 19, I was honored to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education on the President’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget.

Today, ASPR is working on more high-consequence, no-fail missions than ever before. ASPR must have the necessary funding to keep up with the evolving and expanding threat landscape. That is why we have asked for $4.27 billion in FY24. With this FY24 budget request, I am trying to solve three key problems. 

The first problem I am trying to solve is how ASPR maintains the capabilities we built during COVID-19, so we have them for future responses. Many of these capabilities were funded with COVID dollars and will go away with that funding unless we transition them into our annual budget.

One example is our supply chain capabilities. Throughout the pandemic, we used supplemental appropriations to invest in and strengthen the domestic industrial base and supply chain for key medical supplies. This work was borne out of the initial supply chain pinches the country experienced in March 2020 when the whole world needed the exact same medical supplies at the exact same time, and they were all manufactured somewhere else.

As we are seeing supply chain challenges with other medical products outside of COVID, it is important that we maintain the capabilities we have built and broaden them so we can apply them to head off shortages or supply chain pinches in the next outbreak or disaster we face.

We need to move these programs to our annual budget –to keep this capability—so we don’t have to build it from scratch again when we are hit by the next public health emergency, outbreak, or disaster. That is why we are requesting $400 million for Pandemic Preparedness and Biodefense within the FY24 budget to support continued efforts and activities in this area.

The second problem that I am trying to solve with our budget request is how we stop losing time and start preparing for the next pandemic. Among the reasons we were able to move out so quickly with countermeasures against COVID-19 was because so much work was already underway on coronaviruses—due to prior outbreaks of SARS and MERS.

We know the next viral families most likely to cause a significant biological threat. While we have the time, it is important to get the same headstart we had on coronaviruses with these families. We need funding to develop prototype vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics that we can put on the shelf and pull down when a virus from one of these families emerges and begins to spread. The FY24 request includes $20 billion to support preparedness against biological threats, of which about $10.5 billion would come to ASPR to begin work against these viral families.

And finally, the third problem I am trying to solve with our budget request is making sure that ASPR has the funding we need to fully transition into a standalone agency. It would be management malpractice for us to look like the same organization we were at the start of the pandemic. We’ve learned too much and grown too much in these last 3 years to move backward as an organization.

The Secretary—in recognition of all the work we are doing and our expanded mission space—made us an agency last summer. This was to ensure that we had the independence to build the human resources, contracting, and finance capabilities we need to be able to quickly respond to whatever public health emergency or disaster is at hand. The FY24 budget requests an additional $35 million in Operations to start building out our acquisitions and IT workforce— two functions critically important to our success as a standalone agency within HHS.

I am grateful for the consistent support from our congressional partners and am looking forward to working closely with them as we strengthen our ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies and disasters.

If you missed the hearing, the full statement and hearing is posted here 





Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

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Collage of ASPR's budget items
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Created at 4/21/2023 8:36 PM by ELIZABETH JARRETT
Last modified at 4/21/2023 8:46 PM by ELIZABETH JARRETT