House Dems steer $25 million to gun violence research in 2020 HHS funding bill

April 29, 2019 GMT

House Democrats on Monday rolled out an initial version of an education and health spending bill for next year that includes $25 million specifically designated for federal gun violence research.

The $189.8 billion bill funds programs in the labor, health, and education departments. It’s the first of 12 individual spending bills for fiscal 2020, which starts Oct. 1, that the House appropriations committee plans to consider.

It includes $8.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including $25 million to support “firearm injury and mortality prevention research.”

“For the first time in more than 20 years, it also includes funding to ensure the CDC can conduct scientific research to reduce injuries and save lives from gun violence,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, New York Democrat.

A provision routinely included in annual funding bills generally prohibits federal money from being used “to advocate or promote gun control.”

Alex Azar, President Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services, has said that the provision known as the Dickey Amendment only relates to advocacy and that it wouldn’t necessarily bar the CDC from conducting gun-related research.

But gun control advocates say the language has had a chilling effect on lawmakers and federal researchers wary of inadvertently crossing any lines.

Republicans have opposed changing or clarifying the language, and any spending bills that are enacted into law will ultimately need to pass through the GOP-led Senate in addition to the Democratic-controlled House.