Fighting For You on Capitol Hill

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Fighting For You on Capitol Hill

 |  Dec. 11, 2023

ACSM's work at the national level has been robust in 2023, and we’ve experienced both victories and challenges while shepherding legislation through the House and Senate. In addition, our work with the Physical Activity Alliance (PAA) secured a major achievement in the publishing of the Physical Activity Implementation Guide (IG), which is a major step toward our goal of bringing physical activity assessment, prescription and referral to the US health care system. Here's a summary of what we're focusing on:

Omnibus Physical Activity Legislation 

ACSM, through its partnership with PAA, is working on legislation that will highlight the importance of physical activity.  The legislation would accomplish the following: 

  1. Create Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans report. 

  1. Create an Inter-Agency Committee on Physical Activity 

  1. Study and report on Exercise Prescription Reimbursement 

  1. Provide financial incentives for physical activity through HSAs and FSAs. 

  1. Small Business incentives for physical activity 

  1. Provide funding for physical activity education in medical schools. 

  1. Promote physical activity and PE in schools. 

  1. Invest in education and promotion for our nation’s military. 

  1. Provide infrastructure for physical activity for veterans. 

  1. Establish physical activity research grants within NIH and create a greater infrastructure within research agencies to promote physical activity. 

  1. Authorize the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition 

  1. Finance infrastructure in local communities to encourage physical activity.  

The bill is expected to be introduced in January 2024 by the co-chairs of the Congressional Physical Activity Caucus.

Legislation Highlight 

Senators Sherrod Brown, Roger Wicker and Shelley Moore Capito recently introduced S. 397, the Promoting Physical Activity for Americans Act in the Senate. This bill would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prepare and promote physical activity recommendations based on the latest scientific evidence at least every ten years. 

S. 397 would also direct HHS, five years after the release of each set of recommendations, to publish a midcourse report highlighting best practices and continuing issues relating to physical activity among Americans.  Given the strong base of science and medicine that shows the benefits of exercise, every American needs to know the current physical activity recommendations to promote health and combat obesity. 

We need your help! Please take a moment and ask your Senators to co-sponsor physical activity legislation.  Click Here  

Government Funding 

  • Congress passed the bipartisan Continuing Resolution (CR) shortly before Thanksgiving to keep the government running.   

  • Under the CR the Congress must pass all 12 spending bills to keep the government running.   

  • The CR has a two-tiered deadline of January 19th for four of the spending bills and a February 2nd deadline for the remaining 8 spending bills.   

  • Speaker Johnson doesn’t intend to enact any further short-term CRs to keep the government running so the bills must be passed or the government could shut down. 

  • However, there is discussion of a full-year stop gap bill to keep the government running.   

  • Both the CR and the full-year stop gap bill would be harmful to ACSM members that are involved in research funding from the federal government as it could lead to reduced funding or no funding at all in the coming fiscal year.   

  • ACSM is pushing the Congress to pass the spending bills in a timely manner so that ACSM members will be able to access research grants, etc.


The Physical Activity Implementation Guide (IG) is published. The IG standardizes the ability of computer systems or software to exchange information involved in measuring, reporting, and intervening to improve patient physical activity levels. 

Publication signifies that the IG is ready to start being incorporated and used in stakeholder systems. These include, but are not limited to, healthcare systems, Electronic Health Record systems (EHR), physical activity professionals/organizations (including community-based organizations), and physical activity-oriented app developers. These early implementations will provide real-world testing of the IG and feedback for continued improvement and development. 

The publication of the IG puts PAA’s work on the path to becoming a normative standard. It also represents the point at which we begin to bring physical activity assessment, prescription, and referral to the US health care system. The feedback from the early implementers will help the project group to refine the IG and ensure it is able to work for wide implementation throughout all stakeholder groups. This is version 1, or STU1, of the IG. Once we feel there has been enough testing and changes to the IG, PAA will submit for ballot approval and publication for version 2 (STU2). This may take about a year to accomplish, and the PAA will repeat the process until the IG meets HL7® criteria for a normative standard.