- Thomson Reuters
- The CDC responded to a letter from Democratic senators regarding reports of seven banned words in official reports.
- The CDC said that while no words are banned, it suggests the use of certain terms.
- For instance, the CDC requests that budget documents say “Obamacare” instead of “the Affordable Care Act.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unveiled its style guidelines for official budget reports in a letter to Democratic senators on Tuesday.
The guidelines first drew attention in December, when reports indicated that the CDC had banned the usage of seven words from budget reports, including “evidence-based” and “transgender.”
Democratic senators responded to the reports by asking the CDC to ask if the department requires the use of certain language in budget documents.
CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald said the agency has not “banned, prohibited, or forbidden employees from using any words” and the changes were not official administration policy.
“As this excerpt makes clear, there are no ‘banned’ words,” the letter from Fitzgerald reads. “These are merely suggestions of what terms to use and what overused words to avoid.”
According to the excerpt from the style guide, there are only three words “to avoid” in budget reports: “vulnerable,” “diversity,” and “entitlement.”
The guide also says all reference to the “Affordable Care Act,” or “ACA,” be changed to “Obamacare,” and references to the law’s “Marketplaces” should be changed to “Exchanges.”
Brain Schatz, one of the Democratic senators who received the letter, slammed the guidelines, arguing they suggest employees should favor more partisan language.
“CDC acknowledged that it provides guidance on words to avoid using and suggests alternative terms. For instance, in an excerpt from an official document, CDC recommends the use of the colloquial term ‘Obamacare’ over ‘ACA’ or ‘The Affordable Care Act,’ the official name for the law,” a statement from the Democratic lawmakers said. “Schatz and the co-authors of the letter slammed the use of such guidance, which favors more politically charged language. “