The House Appropriations Committee has approved the fiscal year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill. The legislation includes funding for programs within the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and other related agencies, including the Social Security Administration. In total, the bill includes $189.9 billion in base discretionary funding, an increase of $11.8 billion over the 2019 enacted level and $48 billion over the President's 2020 budget request. Bill highlights impacting breastfeeding families from the conference report include:
- Includes $10M for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hospital Support Breastfeeding program, an increase of $2M from the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, to support evidence-based practice improvements in hospitals, with an emphasis on physician and care provider education. Funding for this program comes from the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
- Maintains investments to reduce maternal mortality rates while further bolstering that effort with an increase of $5M through the Maternal and Child Health Bureau; an increase of $2.5M to educate midwives to address the national shortage of maternity care providers; and increased funding through the Office on Women's Health.
- Includes $705M for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, an increase of $27.3M above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
- Includes an increase of $16M for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health for additional approved but unfunded organizations for the first year of a three-year cooperative agreement, with at least two additional grantees from each of the racial and ethnic target populations described in the funding announcement CDC–RFA–DP18–1813.
- Maintains funding for Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country at the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
- Includes $12M for the Safe Motherhood and Infant Health Program for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue its technical assistance to existing State Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) to build stronger data systems, improve data collection at the State level and create consistency in data collection across State MMRCs.
- Directs the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to comply with the March 8, 2019 ruling of the Ms. L.; et al., v. U.S. ICE; et al. case, and to account for any children who were separated from their parents by the Department of Homeland Security and referred to ORR on or after July 1, 2017. The Committee provides $4M for ORR to prioritize this work. Starting no later than 30 days after enactment of this Act, HHS is directed to provide monthly reports to the Committee on the progress of this effort.
- Provides $65M for the Office of Minority Health, an increase of $8.33M above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
- Includes $36M for the Office on Women's Health, an increase of $3.86M above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
- Increases the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD) budget and directs WHD to hire at least 500 additional investigators with the increased funding. The Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcement of the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law.
- Urges the Health Resources Services Administration, during the next review of the Women's Preventive Services Guidelines for breastfeeding services and supplies, to incorporate into the clinical and implementation considerations section of the guideline: evidence of the critical timeframe for breastfeeding initiation following delivery; and recommendations for assessing risk factors, initiating milk production and ensuring that women are able to build supply and sustain breastfeeding in the early post-partum period (as well as during the antenatal, perinatal, and the postpartum period) in both pre-term and term infants.
Federal appropriations help build and strengthen critical programs and initiatives to improve maternity care practices, increase access to lactation support, ensure continuity of breastfeeding care, increase support for breastfeeding employees, and address disparities in breastfeeding rates.
The USBC closely monitors the federal budget and appropriations process, mobilizing advocacy and outreach to maintain and expand federal investments in breastfeeding. In April, the USBC delivered a joint letter signed by 99 organizations urging that at least $13 million be directed in Fiscal Year 2020 for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Hospital & Continuity of Care Breastfeeding Support program. In addition, nearly 1,000 messages were sent to Members of Congress by their constituents urging support for five breastfeeding policy priorities, including federal funding for breastfeeding. Thank you to everyone who took action. Your voice has been heard!
Federal budget process:
Each federal budget is developed for what is called a Fiscal Year, which begins on October 1st and runs through September 30th of the following year. Developing a federal budget begins with the President submitting a budget plan. The President's budget reflects the vision, values, and priorities of the Administration and sets the stage for the federal budget negotiation process.
Congress then develops its budget plan, called the budget resolution, to set a total amount for spending in the year ahead. The budget total is sent to the House and Senate appropriations committees, where it is divided among 12 subcommittees each charged with developing an appropriations bill. Appropriations Committees hold "mark-ups" for each of the 12 annual spending bills.
Once these bills pass both Houses, they must be "conferenced" to work out any differences between the two versions. House-Senate conference committees make final determinations and prepare a Conference Report. The Conference Report is then passed by the House and the Senate and sent to the President to be signed.