Lowey opening statement at subcommittee markup of 2017 Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations bill
I’d like to thank Chairman Cole, Chairman Rogers, and Ranking Member DeLauro for holding this markup and for including some of my priorities in the proposed FY17 bill.
Increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health, Head Start, and IDEA State grants would significantly improve the health and wellbeing of millions of vulnerable people in our country.
New funding for opioid abuse response initiatives would help combat the heroin epidemic that has left no community unscathed, and new block grant funding for Student Support and Academic Enrichment could be invaluable to advancing student achievement.
Unfortunately, these investments are offset with unacceptable cuts to family planning, Pell Grants, CMS operations, and job training programs for dislocated workers, to cite just a few of the egregious cuts.
The bill also contains dangerous, partisan policy riders that:
- prohibit funds to implement the Affordable Care Act,
- block overtime pay,
- halt the National Labor Relations Board rule on union elections, and
- restrict the CDC from funding gun violence prevention research – which is an embarrassment in light of current public outcry on this issue and overwhelming support for common sense gun reform
The bill also continues the reckless and short-sighted Republican approach to combating the Zika virus.
The mark includes a paltry amount compared to what should be a robust, $1.9 billion emergency supplemental to fully deliver the vaccines, diagnostics, and mosquito control we need domestically and internationally to protect Americans, especially pregnant women and unborn children.
In sum, the Chairman's inadequate allocation of $569 million below current levels, and $2.3 billion below the President’s request, in addition to a litany of partisan policy provisions, is an irresponsible gamble on our public health infrastructure, the education of our children, and protections for hard-working men and women.
With cuts and politically-motivated riders that undermine the value of the improvements in this bill, it stands in stark contrast to the bipartisan Labor-HHS bill our colleagues in the Senate passed.
While it may not be the bill Ranking Member DeLauro or I would have written, the Senate bill reflects Republican and Democratic compromise on critical issues that I wish we could achieve in the House.
I hope we can work together to fix the many inadequacies in this bill as it moves to full committee next week.