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2017 spending bill includes increases for dental research, education

May 02, 2017

Washington — The House Appropriations Committee May 1 released the 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill, legislation that will provide discretionary funding for the federal government through Sept. 30 — the end of the current fiscal year.

The bill, which is expected to pass both the House and Senate this week, allocated funding for many of the Association's key advocacy issues affecting oral health. This includes $425.8 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research — an increase of about $12.5 million from 2016—and $182.6 million for the Indian Health Services dental program — an increase of about $4.3 million.

For the Health Resources and Services Administration, appropriators recommended about $36.7 million for training in oral health care programs for fiscal year 2017. The appropriators also recommended the agency set aside at least $10 million each for general dentistry and pediatric dental residencies and urged HRSA to “encourage students and residents to choose primary care fields and practice in underserved urban and rural areas.”

The agreement also included an additional $800,000 for the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program and directed HRSA to “give preference in grant awards to pediatric dentistry faculty supervising residents” and to applicants “providing clinical services in dental clinics located in dental schools, hospitals or community-based affiliate sites.” The committee directed HRSA to restore the chief dental officer position, noting as it did in 2016, that it was "disturbed" the agency has not maintained the appointment “in spite of” HRSA’s 2010 commitment “to establish the Oral Health Initiative.”

Other oral health-related programs to receive funding include:

  • The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health: $205 million.
  • The CDC Division of Oral Health: $18 million.
    The Ryan White AIDS Dental Services: $13.1 million.
  • Area Health Education Centers: $30.3 million.
  • Maternal and Child Health Special Projects of Regional and National Significance: $5.3 million.

The House policy riders to exempt so-called “large and premium cigars” from Food and Drug Administration oversight and to change the “grandfather date” in order to exempt e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products were not included in the final 2017 bill. In April, the Association, along with more than 50 organizations led by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, urged Congress to reject these two riders which would have weakened the FDA’s authority to oversee tobacco products.

For information on all of the ADA advocacy efforts, visit