Weekly Wire: June 14, 2018

Please note: Inclusion of an item in this e-newsletter does NOT imply endorsement or support of such item by the United States Breastfeeding Committee, unless specifically noted.

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Federal News

Senators Call for End to Separating Families at Border, from Congress

30 Democratic Senators have sent a letter to the President calling for an end to the practice of separating children and caregivers at the U.S.-Mexico border. The letter highlights that best practices in child welfare promote keeping children and their parents safely together unless removal is in the child's best interest. The letter was coordinated by Senators Rob Wyden (D-OR) and Patty Murray (D-WA). 

House Releases Recission Package, from Congress

The House has passed the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act. The legislation rescinds nearly $15 billion in previously approved government spending from prior fiscal years. Squeaking by narrowly on a 210 to 206 vote, the rescission package targets programs in the departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Treasury. This legislation supports a Trump Administration proposal to partially undo the bipartisan omnibus budget deal passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in April. However, according to the Congressional Budget Office, this package would save only $1 billion in actual outlays over the next 10 years, because the targeted funding stems largely from unspent money and appropriations no longer necessary, or because their authorization period has lapsed. It now heads to the Senate, where its fate is doubtful due to bipartisan concerns about the precedent that may be set by eliminating unspent funds and reducing Congressional ability to use unspent funds to offset other programs. Highlights from the field included:

Senate Releases Bipartisan Farm Bill, from Congress

The Senate Agriculture Committee has released its proposed Farm Bill which strengthens SNAP and avoids the controversial provisions of the House farm bill. Learn more about the Senate's proposals in the Agriculture Committee's section-by-section summaries. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has stated that his intention is to bring the Farm Bill to the Senate floor before the Senate leaves on June 29 for its July 4 break. Highlights from the field included:

Agency to Discontinue Enforcement of ACA Provision, from DOJ

The Department of Justice has sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stating that the agency will no longer defend the constitutionality of the individual mandate, Section 5000A(a) of the ACA which requires individuals to maintain minimum essential health coverage. The letter states that the decision was made with the approval of the President of the United States, in consideration of the lawsuit Texas v. United States, No. 4: l 8-cv-00167-O (N.D. Tex.). In addition, the Department will argue that certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are inseverable from that provision. As acknowledged in the letter, this is a break with the tradition of the executive branch defending existing federal law.

USBC Insight: A court ruling and appeals of any decision could delay action for several months, but if federal court agrees with the DOJ's argument, it could remove crucial parts of the ACA. Loss of health coverage in general would result in reduced access to preventive services, including breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.

Representatives Send Letter Asking for Reconsideration of Public Charge Proposal, from Congress

86 congressional representatives have sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) expressing concern about the draft rule that would allow the Department of Homeland Security to weigh the use of public benefits by immigrants and their family members in the determination of applications for visas and green cards. The draft public charge rule has been under review at the OMB since May. Leaked drafts list specific programs that could be considered in a public charge determination, though the lists have differed as to which programs are implicated in each of the two drafts. Programs that were listed in both drafts include WIC, SNAP, CHIP, Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers, health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and state/local benefits. Related member highlights included:

Maternal Mortality Summit Webcast, from HRSA

Join the Health Resources and Services Administration Tuesday, June 19, through Thursday, June 21, for the "Maternal Mortality Summit: Promising Global Practices to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes," available via webcast. The summit brings together leading national and global subject matter experts from within and beyond U.S. borders to highlight innovative strategies in reducing maternal mortality. 


Member News

Prenatal Curriculum Release, from CGBI

The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute has released an updated version of the Ready, Set, Baby (RSB) resource. RSB is an evidence-based curriculum designed for counseling families prenatally about breastfeeding and the maternity care practices that support breastfeeding. RSB also includes content for the days and weeks after families return home from maternity centers. The resource is self-explanatory for users and requires a modest amount of time for educators to familiarize themselves with the flow of the tool.

Joint Statement on Practice Relations, from ACNM/ACOG

The American College of Nurse-Midwives and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have published a revised "Joint Statement of Practice Relations between Obstetrician-Gynecologists and Certified Nurse-Midwives/Certified Midwives." This is the first revision since the Joint Statement was first published in 2011. The document continues to support the promotion of collaborative practice and team-based care between obstetricians/gynecologists and Certified Nurse-Midwives/Certified Midwives to optimize women's health care, and calls for patient access to a system of care that fosters collaboration among licensed, independent providers.


Partner News

Call to Increase Breastfeeding in Wealthy Countries, from UNICEF

The United Nations Children's Fund has issued a call for high-income countries to encourage more breastfeeding. In high-income countries, 21 per cent of babies are not breastfed at all, while in low- and-middle-income countries, the figure on average is only four per cent. UNICEF urges governments, the private sector and civil society to increase funding and awareness to raise breastfeeding rates from birth, through the age of two, and it outlines other factors effecting breastfeeding rates, such as introducing strong legal measures to regulate the marketing of infant formula and other breastmilk substitutes; enacting paid family leave and putting in place workplace breastfeeding policies, including paid breaks for new mothers.

Social Justice and Lactation Articles, from NACCHO

The National Association of County and City Health Officials has published two articles focused on social justice and lactation in the Spring 2018 issue of the Journal of Human Lactation. "Breastfeeding in the Community: Sharing Stories on Implementations That Work," highlights the work of 19 NACCHO breastfeeding project grantees. In "Breastfeeding in the Community: Addressing Disparities Through Policy, Systems, and Environmental Changes Interventions" the authors share practice-oriented strategies for agencies seeking to implement community-level breastfeeding interventions through a public health policy, systems, and environmental change approach.

REACH Sign-On Letter, from TFAH

Trust for America's Health and several partner organizations have launched an organizational sign-on letter in support of $57.95 million in funding for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program in FY19. REACH is both the only program working directly to reduce health disparities and the only community health program currently funded at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Organizations can sign on via the online form before Monday, June 18.

Prevention Fund at Work Web Page Update, from TFAH

Trust for America's Health has updated its Fund at Work web pages, which detail state-level investments made by the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The latest version includes state-by-state breakdowns of funding data from FY17, including programs funded through "Hospitals Promoting Breastfeeding."

Report on Importance of Community Organizing for Paid Leave, from FJN

The Family Justice Network (FJN) has published a report titled, "Recognizing All Families to Expand Our Movements: Insights from the Family Justice Network." The report highlights the importance of community organizing and advocacy for paid leave protections with inclusive family definitions. Through examples of family leave campaigns in Georgia and New Mexico, this report explores how FJN works to build a national movement that recognizes and honors all families. FJN is a collaboration between Family Values @ Work, A Better Balance, 9to5, Forward Together and Building Movement Project.

Report on Mass Incarceration, Stress, and Black Infant Mortality, from CAP

The Center for American Progress has released a report titled "Mass Incarceration, Stress, and Black Infant Mortality: A Case Study in Structural Racism." The report summarizes existing research on the effects of mass incarceration on black women and children. In particular, it highlights how black women's heightened contact with the criminal justice system leads to increased stress and disparities in health and infant mortality. The report also notes how often incarcerated pregnant women give birth shackled and are separated from their newborns, unable to breastfeed and bond.


News from the Field

FITS Findings Published, from Journal of Nutrition

The Journal of Nutrition has published research findings from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS 2016). The third FITS study completed to date, FITS 2016 surveyed nearly 10,000 parents and caregivers, many of whom participate in the WIC Program.

Black Women's Maternal Care Survey, from BMMA

The Black Mamas Matter Alliance, in collaboration with the Healthy Families Project, has launched a national online survey to learn about black women's maternal care experiences, and access to health services. The results of this online survey will be shared in a report format with the Healthy Families Project. Individuals are invited to complete the survey through the online form by Friday, July 15.

Cost of Obesity Infographic, from Milken SPH

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University has published an infographic highlighting the scope of obesity as a public health issue. The graphic features key figures on racial and demographic inequities, contributiong factors, associated health costs, and associated human costs. 

USBC Insight: Breastfeeding is a proven primary prevention strategy, building a foundation for life-long health and wellness. Breastfed children have a reduced risk of obesity. 


Collective Impact Connection

Community Engagement Paper, from Tamarack

The Tamarack Institute has published a paper titled "Community Engagement: A Foundational Practice of Community Change." The paper discusses what community engagement is, how community engagement is the core idea for change, and why the nurturing of community ownership and leadership in any change effort is essential for its long-term sustainability and success. This is the first paper in Tamarack's 2018 Community Change Festival Series, highlighting each of the five interconnected practices essential for community change.


State/Community News

Paid Sick Time Brief, from Texas

The Center for Public Policy Priorities has released a brief titled, "Sick of This: Paid Sick Days Policies Keep Texas Healthy." The publication looks at Texan workers' lack of access to paid sick days and the benefits that paid sick days would have for Texas families and businesses.

USBC Insight: Paid sick days make it possible for employees to access preventive services, including breastfeeding support and counseling, when needed.

Workplace Breastfeeding Guide, from Michigan

The Michigan Breastfeeding Network has published a resource titled "System Changer's Guide to Breastfeeding and the Workplace." The publication describes the benefits of breastfeeding, the importance of supporting working mothers, how companies benefit from supporting breastfeeding employees, time and space solutions, and workplace lactation accommodation and family leave legislation.


News & Views

CNN: "She says federal officials took her daughter while she breastfed the child in a detention center

WDAY: "'It's a juggle': Local politicians balance breastfeeding and governing"

Buzzfeed: "The Rock Fed His Partner While She Breast-Fed Their Baby And I'm Overwhelmed

Glamour: "Anne Hathaway Says Her Ocean's 8 Costars Stopped Filming So She Could Pump Breast Milk"   

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