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Dem senator to lead fight against cuts to children's hospitals

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownLawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves Dem senator shares photo praising LeBron James after Laura Ingraham attacks Trump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war MORE (D-Ohio) is drafting a sign-on letter opposing cuts to training programs at children's hospitals that could result from the 2011 spending bill, The Hill has learned.

The budget resolution that the president signed Friday cuts the agency that oversees the program by $1.3 billion — or 17 percent — from 2010 levels. But the bill gives agencies wide discretion over the funding levels for many individual programs under their purview, so Brown is putting pressure on the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to leave graduate medical education for children's hospitals alone.

"It's critical that we reduce the deficit, but the burden cannot be placed on the backs of sick children and the medical professionals and hospitals that treat them," Brown told The Hill via email. "That's why it's critical that the Administration reinstate funding for the Children's Health Graduate Medical Education Program (CHGME)."

A longtime champion of the program, Brown authored legislation that first proposed it when he was a House member in 1998.

Children's hospitals rely on the annual funding to train their residents because they don't get paid through Medicare like other hospitals. President Obama proposed ending the $300 million a year appropriation in his 2012 budget, causing children's hospitals to worry that HRSA could take its first stab at the program as it revisits its budget for the next five and a half months.