Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, are declaring victory after successfully negotiating federal dollars for gun violence research for the first time in 20 years.
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health and would receive $25 million to study ways to prevent gun injuries and deaths under the proposal. It is part of the spending package Congress is expected to approve this week to avoid a government shutdown.
“I came to Washington to help protect our communities and was proud to lead my colleagues in asking for this life-saving research funding,” McBath said Monday after the appropriations deal was announced. “I am thrilled that for the first time in two decades, we have successfully secured that funding, funding that will help us prevent gun violence and keep our families whole.”
McBath lost her son, Jordan, in 2012 after he was shot by a man who complained of the teen’s loud music. She and other Democrats wrote a letter in March requesting $50 million in research dollars, citing 40,000 Americans who die each year because of gun violence.
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, who is retiring at the end of the year, had proposed a broader measure for $75 million to fund CDC research of all mass violence. That would have included not just injuries and deaths caused by guns but knives, explosives and even vehicles.
Democrats have been working for years to restore the funding, which was announced Monday as part of a comprehensive package to keep government functioning.
Congress passed a law in 1996 that caused CDC funding for gun research to dry up after Republicans complained that researchers were encouraging gun control. Last year, under pressure after a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., Congress clarified the law to allow for the CDC to once again study the impact of gun violence.
Now, there would be funding to do so. The House is expected to vote on appropriations Tuesday and the Senate later in the week. A deal must be approved by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.