The House Appropriations Committee has approved the fiscal year (FY) 2021 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.
For FY 2021, the bill includes $196.5 billion in overall funding, an increase of $2.4 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $20.8 billion above the President's 2021 budget request.
Committee recommendations impacting breastfeeding families from the conference report include:
Federal Program Funding:
- $9M for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hospitals Promoting Breastfeeding program, level funding from the FY 2020 enacted level. Funding for this program comes from the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
- $66.95M for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, a $7M increase from the FY 2020 enacted level.
- $23M for the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country program, an increase of $2M from the FY 2020 enacted level. The program supports the implementation of evidence-based strategies to improve health among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Long-term program goals include increased breastfeeding rates.
- $712.7M for the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant program, an increase of $25M above the FY 2020 enacted level. Breastfeeding rates are included in the MCH Block Grant National Performance Measures.
- $130.5M for the Healthy Start program, $5M above the FY 2020 enacted level. The Healthy Start program implements community-based interventions to improve the health of mothers and children, including breastfeeding education.
- $10.7B for the Early Head Start program, $150M above the FY 2020 enacted level. Early Head Start program performance standards include breastfeeding support.
Federal Agency Funding:
- $8B for the CDC, $232M above the FY 2020 enacted level.
- $56.9M for the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), level funding from the FY 2020 enacted level. DNPAO is the CDC division responsible for many breastfeeding support initiatives, including development of the Breastfeeding Report Card.
- $7.2B for HRSA, $157M above the FY 2020 enacted level.
- $246M for the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD), $4.2M above the FY 2020 enacted level. WHD is responsible for enforcement of the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law.
- $65M for the Office of Minority Health, $6.3M above the FY 2020 enacted level.
- $36.6M for the Office on Women's Health, $3M above the FY 2020 enacted level.
- Directs CDC to provide an update on adaptions that have been made to the Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies Program, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, and other infant and maternal health surveillance efforts to evaluate the risks for and effects of COVID– 19 on infants and pregnant and lactating individuals.
- Directs the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to submit a report describing the specific steps being taken to ensure racially, ethnically, and geographically diverse participation in studies conducted to understand the effects of COVID–19 on pregnant and lactating individuals.
- Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to report on the specific steps HHS is taking to ensure that ongoing and upcoming COVID–19 vaccine clinical trials have diverse and representative participation of historically underrepresented sub-groups, including by age, sex, race, ethnicity, and women who are pregnant or lactating.
- Supports the National Institutes of Health efforts (NIH) to expand neonatal research to improve the treatment and health outcomes of premature babies and explore ways to support multi-site clinical trials in pregnancy and lactation.
- Directs NICHD to report on the feasibility of implementing the recommendations from the Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women to address gaps in knowledge and research on safe and effective therapies for pregnant and lactating women.
- Directs the Department of Education to provide a report on the percentage of students who are parents in colleges and universities, the services institutions provide for student parents, outreach methods to ensure students are informed of available resources, the availability of on-campus and subsidized childcare, and the availability of lactation rooms for nursing mothers.
- Urges CDC to improve data and prevention strategies related to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood, including by revising standardized death investigation forms, incorporating scene investigation and doll-reenactments.
This was only one step in the federal budget process. The Senate has not begun marking up its FY 2021 appropriations bills, and a continuing resolution will likely be needed to keep the government funded beyond the end of the current fiscal year (September 30). Subscribe to the USBC mailing list to stay up to date as federal budget negotiations continue.