The Senate Appropriations Committee has released all twelve of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. Provisions impacting breastfeeding families are included in five of these bills:
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, 2021
The Labor-HHS appropriations bill includes a variety of provisions that impact infant feeding.
Federal Program Funding in the Labor-HHS Bill:
- $9M for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hospitals Promoting Breastfeeding program, level funding from FY 2020. Funding for this program comes from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to support breastfeeding families in maternity care settings, communities, and workplaces.
- $59.95M for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, level funding from FY 2020 but $7M less than the House bill. The REACH program works to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities through local, culturally appropriate programs, including breastfeeding support programs.
- $21M for the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country program, level funding from FY 2020, and $2M less than the House bill. Long-term program goals include increased breastfeeding rates.
- $707.7M for the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant program, an increase of $20M from FY 2020, and $5M less than the House bill. Breastfeeding rates are included in the MCH Block Grant National Performance Measures.
- $125.5M for the Healthy Start program, level funding from FY 2020 and $5M below the House bill. The Healthy Start program implements community-based interventions to improve the health of mothers and children, including breastfeeding education.
- $29M for the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT), including $6M in continued funding for the Telehealth Centers of Excellence (COE), level funding from FY 2020 and $13M less than the House bill. The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled many lactation support providers to shift to a lactation telehealth model. Lack of access to broadband services has made this transition difficult or impossible in many communities, particularly in rural areas.
Federal Agency Funding in the Labor-HHS Bill:
- $7.9B for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an increase of $36.7M from FY 2020 and $80M less than the House bill.
- $56.9M for the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), level funding from FY 2020. DNPAO is the CDC division responsible for many breastfeeding support initiatives, including the development of the Breastfeeding Report Card.
- $7.4B for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an increase of $47M from FY 2020 and $200 more than the House bill. HRSA Maternal & Child Health Bureau programs promote the nutritional well-being of maternal and child populations across the lifespan, including through breastfeeding support.
- $242M for the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD), level funding from FY 2020 and $4M less than the House bill. WHD is responsible for enforcement of the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law.
- $58.7M for the Office of Minority Health, level funding from FY 2020 and $7M less than the House bill. OMH works to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities.
- $33.6M for the Office on Women’s Health, level funding from FY 2020. OWH hosts a variety of resources to support breastfeeding families in health care, community, and workplace settings.
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, 2021
The Agriculture Appropriations bill includes $6B in overall funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The bill also sustains last year's increased investment in WIC's Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, continuing funding at $90 million.
Financial Services and General Government, 2021
The Financial Services and General Government bill continues the longstanding annual provision allowing that a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property where they are otherwise authorized to be.
Homeland Security, 2021
The Homeland Security bill continues to direct the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide semiannual reports on the total number of pregnant or lactating women in ICE custody.
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, 2021
The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill directs the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to submit a report on the nutrition outcomes achieved during the previous fiscal year, including tracking progress toward the 2025 World Health Assembly global targets on stunting, wasting, anemia, and breastfeeding.
This was only one step in the federal budget process. The House and Senate bills must now 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.
The current continuing resolution will expire on Friday, December 11. If the FY21 federal budget is not passed by that date, Congress will need to pass another continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.
Learn more about the status of appropriations bills with the Congressional Research Service Appropriations Status Table: FY2021 and subscribe to the USBC mailing list to stay up to date as federal budget negotiations continue.