In the first half of 2021, AAFA saw two big advocacy wins. The School-Based Asthma and Allergy Management Program Act and the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act of 2021 (FASTER Act) both passed.
Since June, AAFA has continued to advocate for:
- Health equity in all policies
- Healthy school settings
- Clean air and climate action
- Food allergy labeling
- Access to affordable quality health care and coverage
One of our key priorities is making sure our children have safe learning environments. This year AAFA often reached out to the School Superintendents Association, the Association of Educational Service Agencies, and the Department of Education. We asked them to ensure that funds for schools from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) are used to maintain healthy buildings and improve ventilation.
AAFA has also been advocating for funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help schools improve indoor air quality. We especially push for funding for underserved schools. AAFA’s Director of Advocacy, Jenna Riemenschneider (me!), and other members of the Coalition for Healthier Schools met with EPA Deputy Administrator, Janet McCabe, in July. We also met with key offices in Congress to make sure this funding for EPA is included in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA).
On Nov. 20, the House of Representatives passed the BBBA. Thanks to AAFA’s advocacy efforts, $50 million was included for the EPA to address air quality in public schools in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The BBBA still needs to pass in the Senate though. It will likely have to go back to the House before possibly becoming law. Stay tuned for updates!
AAFA continues to support clean, safe air for everyone. In May, AAFA’s CEO and President Kenneth Mendez and other health and medical association leaders, met with EPA Administrator Michael Regan. Our groups urged EPA action on:
- Stronger national standards for ozone and particulate matter
- Transition to zero-emission vehicles
- Limits on methane pollution
- Ensuring environmental justice
This year, AAFA testified four times before the EPA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) on pending rules. We also asked the Biden administration to take action on these items, as well as set stronger fuel standards and put limits on other harmful air pollution from the oil and natural gas industry.
With our Healthy Air Partners led by the American Lung Association (ALA), AAFA also asked Congress to fund zero-emission school buses. Congress heard our request. They signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law on Nov. 19, 2021. It included $2.5 billion for zero-emission school buses.
Food Allergy Labeling
The Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021 (FLMA, H.R. 4917/S. 2954) was introduced in the House and Senate again in August. If passed, the bill would make much-needed changes to food labeling in the United States. The FLMA aims to make food labels clearer and more accessible for all Americans, including people managing food allergies.
AAFA is currently working with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). We are meeting with members of Congress to get support for the bill. You can help as well by asking your lawmakers to support the FLMA.
AAFA’s Letters of Support
This year AAFA has signed 115 letters on key policies we support. These include access to health care coverage and medicine, clean air, climate change, healthy schools, health equity, and federal funding.
You can find all letters on our Positions and Statements page. Here are a few of the highlights:
- AAFA Sends Letter Proposing Priorities for COVID-19 Equity Task Force
- AAFA Sends Letter Proposing Priorities for Climate Change
- AAFA Signs Letter Urging that Advance Premium Tax Credits Are Made Permanent
- AAFA Signs Letter Urging Investments in Climate and Health Solutions
- AAFA Sends Letter Urging Steps to Improve School Safety
AAFA Community in Action
On May 6, AAFA held an Advocacy Action Day as part of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. More than 300 AAFA community members contacted their lawmakers to share the impact asthma and allergies have on their lives. Advocates highlighted the following needs of people with asthma and allergies to live healthy and full lives:
- Affordable, accessible, quality health care
- Clean air
- Healthy homes
- Safe food
- Financial stability
We are also thankful for the more than 6,300 AAFA and KFA community members who have taken advocacy actions in 2021. We look forward to more to come in 2022!
Sign up to receive AAFA’s Advocacy Action Alerts!
Would you like to help us advocate on future issues that affect people with asthma and allergies? We have two ways you can sign up to receive Advocacy Action Alerts.
- Text “AAFA” to 313131 to receive Advocacy Action Alerts and updates via text.
- Join our online community. Not only will you receive Advocacy Action Alerts, but you’ll also be able to talk with other people managing asthma and allergies on our support forums. You’ll also get alerts about other news about managing your conditions, research, and news.
You can help promote real and lasting change for people with asthma and allergies by supporting our advocacy efforts. Your gift, no matter how much, allows us to continue to raise awareness of asthma and allergies so appropriate protections are put into place. Please consider a small donation to help us continue these efforts in 2022.