July 16, 2021
Yesterday, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved legislation to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The bill significantly increases funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), boosts annual funding for the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program, and raises resources for Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) and rehabilitation research. Thanks to all of the ASHA Advocates who urged Congress to provide this critical funding, for which ASHA submitted congressional testimony [PDF] and spearheaded a letter from hearing health stakeholders [PDF].
The House legislation substantially increases funding for special education services and supports and, if passed, will represent the largest federal investment for IDEA in two decades. The commitment is an important first step toward fully funding IDEA once and for all. Special education provisions include:
The EHDI program provides early screening, diagnosis, and treatment for infants and young children with hearing loss. The legislation increases EHDI funding for the first time since the program was reauthorized in 2017 by providing a $1.7 million increase for Health Resources and Services Administration grants that support state-based EHDI systems. ASHA is especially pleased that the report accompanying the bill, which provides more detailed guidance to departments and agencies about how to use the funding, included language that ASHA advocated for to encourage the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand its work to address disparities in follow-up services among racial and ethnic minorities and other medically underserved populations.
CSD and Rehabilitation Research
The bill includes a $24.7 million increase for the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (for a total of $522.7 million) and an $11.8 million increase for the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (for a total of $124.8 million) to enhance and improve hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language research, and to enhance the abilities of people with functional impairments.
The fight for FY 2022 funding is not over! The House must still pass this bill, and the Senate needs to approve this funding before it can become law. That’s why we need you to take action today by contacting your U.S. representative and senators and urging them to support these critical funding increases for IDEA and EHDI.
Contact Erik Lazdins, ASHA's associate director of federal affairs, at email@example.com.