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Federal Appropriations for Breastfeeding

Each year funding is allocated to a variety of federally funded programs that include breastfeeding support through the federal appropriations process. Appropriations for breastfeeding have helped build and strengthen critical programs and initiatives to improve maternity care practices, increase access to peer & professional support, ensure continuity of breastfeeding care, increase support for breastfeeding employees, and address disparities in breastfeeding rates. Funding relevant to the breastfeeding field are primarily included in the Labor-HHS and Agriculture appropriations bills. 

About the 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.

Funding for Breastfeeding in Fiscal Year 2021 President's Budget

The Office of Management and Budget has released "A Budget for America's Future – President's Budget FY 2021." The report contains the Budget Message of the President for Fiscal Year 2021, information on the President's priorities, and summary tables. Key funding updates from the fiscal year 2021 President's budget report and associated agency summary reports relevant to the breastfeeding field include:

  • Elimination of funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hospitals Promoting Breastfeeding program. This program was funded at $9 million in fiscal year 2020.
  • Elimination of funding for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program. The REACH program works to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities through local, culturally appropriate programs, including breastfeeding support programs. This program was funded at $59.95 million in fiscal year 2020.
  • $5.5 billion in funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a $500 million decrease from the fiscal year 2020 level. The President's Budget also calls for a return to the $60 million funding level for WIC's Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, a $30 million decrease from the fiscal year 2020 level.

Read USBC's full analysis of the President's budget: "Fiscal Year 2021 President’s Budget Released."

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS)

The Labor-HHS appropriations bill includes funding for programs and agencies that impact breastfeeding families, including:

  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Hospitals Promoting Breastfeeding Program
  • Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program
  • State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) program 
  • Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant
  • Healthy Start program
  • National Early Child Care Collaboratives program
  • Early Head Start program
  • Task Force on Research in Pregnant Women and Lactating Women
  • Safe Motherhood and Infant Health Program
  • National Early Child Care Collaboratives Program
  • Office on Women’s Health
  • CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO)
  • Office of Minority Health
  • Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division

Read the USBC's analysis of the FY2021 House Labor-HHS bill:

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Agriculture)

The Agriculture appropriations bill designates funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, including the breastfeeding peer counselor program. 

Read the USBC's latest update on the FY2021 Agriculture appropriations bill in the July 18 edition of the Weekly Wire.

Additional Appropriations Provisions that Impact Breastfeeding Families

Find additional updates on breastfeeding in the federal budget:

  • July 18, 2020 edition of the Weekly Wire
    • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
    • Financial Services and General Government
    • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
    • Homeland Security
  • August 7, 2020 edition of the Weekly Wire
    • Appropriations minibus consisting of six bills that fund federal departments including Defense, Commerce, Justice, Energy, Treasury Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development