USBC News & Blogs
The fiscal year 2024 appropriations process is underway. Congress has taken many steps to advance the 12 appropriations bills that set the federal budget, however, there are a range of disagreements that are holding up the process. Follow the status of each of the spending bills in the Congressional Research Service Appropriations Status Table: FY2024.
Funded provisions in these bills can be found on the Federal Appropriations for Breastfeeding webpage. The webpage traces program funding levels at each step in the federal budget process.
The appropriations bills and associated reports also include a variety of unfunded or one-time directives:
Senate Report: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, 2024
The Committee notes that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (Public Law 117–328) included funding for HHS to enter into an agreement with NASEM to provide an evidence-based, non-partisan analysis of the macroeconomic, health, and social costs of U.S. breastfeeding rates and national breastfeeding goals. The Committee expects that this analysis should also examine how health insurers have implemented comprehensive lactation services, the standards set to determine reimbursement rates for breastfeeding supplies and services, and the current best practices used to provide coverage to help women breastfeed.
The Committee supports the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) new Birthing-Friendly Hospital designation to assist consumers in choosing hospitals that have demonstrated a commitment to maternal health through the implementation of best practices that advance healthcare quality, safety, and equity for pregnant and postpartum patients. The Committee encourages CMS to explore expanding the criteria for which this designation would be awarded in the future and requests a briefing on additional steps to address maternal health outcomes and improve patient care within 120 days of enactment of this act.
The Committee directs the Department of Health and Human Services to prioritize efforts to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce maternal mortality. The Committee directs HHS to focus on efforts to improve coordination across maternal health programs, expand the maternity care workforce, advance equity through the development of a maternal health quality outcomes measure, and enhance postpartum social supports for families.
Senate Report: Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, 2024
The Committee supports the National policy to discourage the detention or arrest of known pregnant, postpartum, or lactating women. The Committee continues the requirement to provide semiannual reports on the total number of pregnant, postpartum, or lactating women in ICE custody, including detailed justification of the circumstances warranting each pregnant, postpartum, or lactating woman’s continued detention and the time in custody.
Senate Report: Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2024
The Committee directs the Indian Health Service to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to further enhance its maternal health initiatives, which should include improved data collection to facilitate an agency-wide effort to improve outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native women.
What's next for the federal budget process?
Once the House and Senate have each passed their appropriations bills, 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. All appropriations bills must be completed by the end of the fiscal year on September 30, or Congress will have to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded at the start of FY 2024 on October 1.
Learn more on the Federal Appropriations for Breastfeeding webpage and the July 2023 blog titled “FY24 Appropriations: What the House and Senate Bills Mean for Infant Feeding.”
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