Top appropriators say they see no need to specify funding for gun research
Top appropriators in the House and Senate on Thursday said they are not interested in funding new federal research into the causes of gun violence.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said in separate interviews they don’t see the need to give federal research agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) additional money meant to study the causes of gun violence.
“No,” Cole told The Hill when asked if he was open to appropriating money for gun research.
“I think they need to make that decision themselves. We appropriate money for research, we don’t dictate what the lines of research necessarily need to be,” Cole added.
The omnibus spending package that passed in the House Thursday includes nearly $649 million for various “Injury Prevention and Control activities” within the CDC’s Office of Public Health Scientific Services.
That money is divided among categories such as domestic and sexual violence, injury prevention activities and injury control research centers.
“We’ve increased the NIH research budget by 23 percent in three years. If they want to do gun research, they have plenty of money to do it,” Blunt said.
The legislation contains a clarification that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not barred from conducting gun violence research under a 1996 amendment.
The amendment was inserted into a 1996 government funding bill by the late Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.) and has been renewed annually. Although the provision doesn’t explicitly ban research into gun violence, public health advocates and Democrats say it has stalled research for more than 20 years.
The clarification states: “While appropriations language prohibits the CDC and other agencies from using appropriated funding to advocate or promote gun control, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has stated the CDC has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.”
The omnibus does not repeal the so-called Dickey Amendment altogether, as Democrats had pushed for.
Republicans contend the Dickey Amendment has never prohibited gun research in the first place.
“I think it was not necessary and will have no impact,” Blunt said of the clarifying language.