Congress Passes Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Bills

The House and Senate have passed two legislative packages that together comprise all 12 Fiscal Year 2020 funding bills. The legislation includes two appropriations "minibus" funding bills (H.R. 1865 and H.R. 1158). The bills now go to the President's desk, where they are expected to be signed prior to the funding deadline of Friday, December 20. H.R. 1158 includes measures for the Appropriations Subcommittees on Department of Defense; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; and Homeland Security. H.R. 1865 includes measures for the Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Legislative Branch; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.

For more information, see press releases from the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Committee.

Senate Appropriations Committee:

House Appropriations Committee:

Bill highlights impacting breastfeeding families from the joint explanatory statements (Division A and Division B) include:

  • Includes $9M for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hospital Support Breastfeeding program, an increase of $1M 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.
  • Includes $56.92M for the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO).
  • Allocates $90M for the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, a $30M increase from the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. This is the first such increase for the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program in nearly a decade.
  • Includes $6B overall funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a decrease in $75M from the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
  • Includes $687.7M for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, an increase of $10M above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
  • Includes $59.95M for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, an increase of $4M above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
  • 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.
  • Includes $125.5M for the Healthy Start program, which works to reduce infant mortality and generally improve maternal and infant health in at-risk communities, including through breastfeeding support. This is a $3M increase above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
  • Continues $4M for the National Early Child Care Collaboratives Program to support implementation of healthy eating and physical activity best practices, including breastfeeding.
  • Provides $58.67M for the Office of Minority Health, an increase of $2M above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
  • Includes $33.64M for the Office on Women's Health, an increase of $1.5M 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 additional investigators with the increased funding. The Wage and Hour Division is responsible for enforcement of the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law.
  • Requests NICHD to oversee parts of the implementation of the released recommendations from the Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women report to the Secretary of HHS, working with other relevant Institutes and Centers, CDC, and FDA. The agreement requests a progress report be provided in the fiscal year 2021 Congressional Justification.

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 September, USBC delivered a joint letter signed by 110 organizations urging that at least $10 million be directed in Fiscal Year 2020 for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Hospital & Continuity of Care Breastfeeding Support program. In addition, more than 1,000 messages advocating for federal funding for breastfeeding were sent to Members of Congress through the USBC's online action tool. 

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 1 and runs through September 30 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.

Learn more about the federal budget process.

This is an ongoing process, and this analysis may be updated as needed.

 

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