Chair DeLauro Statement at Subcommittee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

2022-06-23 17:32

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2023 bill:

I want to first take a moment to thank you, Ranking Member Cole. What a pleasure it has been to work with you over the past seven years. And I have the deepest respect for your dedication, steadfast dedication, to the American people and know that we share a mutual commitment to this bill and the impact that it has on Americans everywhere. I would just say this: we do have difference of opinion, but I know that Tom Cole understands why he serves in the House of Representatives. He knows the power of this institution. And he knows what it can do and how it can do it. As I say, we may differences in how we get there, but he gets it. And what he need to do, and he’s here to make sure the institution works on behalf of the American people. So it’s a pleasure and honor to work with you, Tom, and I mean that sincerely.

And thank you to my colleagues on this subcommittee. The bill before us could not have been possible without your passion and commitment. This is also true of all Members who in programmatic and community projects submitted nearly 16,000 requests to the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee. We funded critical priorities that will continue to improve the lives of working families and I am so thankful to all who helped to make this happen.

Our 2022 funding bill made transformative investments that are helping working families with high costs of living, creating American jobs, supporting workers, and strengthening our health care infrastructure. But too many hardworking Americans are struggling. Pay has not kept up with inflation, people are living paycheck to paycheck, women have been pushed out of the workforce and have trouble accessing good childcare, and educational opportunity remains hard to reach for so many. Because we know the impact this bill can have on people’s lives, we have been hard at work to make the necessary investments to address these issues.

This bill was also largely informed by the nine hearings we held over the past few months, during which we discussed serious issues impacting working- and middle-class Americans.

We prioritized learning how to best serve students, understanding the need to support their social, emotional, and cognitive development to ensure lasting positive outcomes. And as we recommitted to ensuring every student receive a high-quality education, we heard how to address the teacher shortages that threaten student learning and success. Because this bill impacts people at every stage of life, we discussed how to support the independence, well-being, and health of older Americans.

We heard from Secretaries and senior officials on the President’s budget request for the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor (DOL), and Education (ED) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – learning of the desperate investments in these programs that Americans need which informed the funding we put forward in the bill before us. And we heard directly from public witnesses and Members of the House about their priorities for this bill.

From these Members, we received requests for Community Project Funding that will make a very palpable difference in the lives of Americans all over this nation. This bill includes over 1300 Community Project Funding requests – that is 1300 projects that will serve communities and meet the needs of working and middle class families as we fund everything from afterschool programs to higher education and health care facilities to employment opportunities.

I am proud to advance this legislation which builds on the success of 2022 to provide Americans the support they so desperately need. We will invest $242.1 billion, an increase of 13 percent above 2022, for the programs at HHS, DOL, Education and their related agencies.

To support hard working Americans and grow opportunity for the middle class, we are providing record investments in early childhood education and child care programs, including $7.2 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants, $12.4 billion for Head Start, and $350 million for Preschool Development Grants.

Access to the American dream begins with educational opportunity, so we are making transformative investments in K-12 education. We provide $20.5 billion for Title I Grants, that’s a $3.5 billion increase, this is going to Local Educational Agencies as we strengthen the cornerstone of our federal support for public education and high-poverty schools. We also include $17.8 billion for Special Education as we look to improve the lives of babies, children, and young adults with disabilities.

As we strengthen the education of our children, we must also recognize that higher education remains unreachable for far too many. We are expanding access to post-secondary education with a critical $500 increase to the maximum Pell Grant. And as we renew our commitment to underserved students, we are reinvesting in Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities with $1.1 billion.

Supporting our students also means supporting their access to good employment opportunities as they enter the workforce, and we do so with $11.8 billion for the Employment and Training Administration. By doubling funding for the Strengthening Community College Training Grants program and significantly increasing Registered Apprenticeships funds, programs championed by this Committee, we meet the growing demand for skilled workers and help people to find good jobs, including those with significant barriers to employment.

But increasing employment opportunities is not enough. I have long sought to strengthen worker protection agencies, and proud this bill invests $2.2 billion for Worker Protection Agencies including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration -OSHA- and the Wage and Hour Division. To combat abusive labor practices abroad, we are providing $139 million for the International Labor Affairs Bureau’s, ILAB. And the bill includes $319 million for the National Labor Relations Board to ensure that workers have a voice in their workplace and to protect their rights to collective bargaining.

As we increase opportunity and create better jobs, we must also heed the lessons of the past two years and continue to strengthen our public health infrastructure – because our nation is safer and healthier when health care is accessible and public health is prioritized. The COVID pandemic – with more than a million lives lost – made the consequences of not investing in public health all too clear.

With $10.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an increase of $2 billion, we bolster public health infrastructure at home and abroad, we modernize public health data, and we strengthen public health workforce initiatives.

And with $9.6 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s, HRSA, we are helping isolated or medically vulnerable Americans access health care, including increases for school‑based health centers, behavioral health workforce training, and the Ending HIV Initiative.

As NIH continues to be at the forefront of transformative medical research, this bill provides $47.5 billion to strengthens its lifesaving scientific breakthroughs in everything from the Cancer Moonshot initiative to Alzheimer’s disease and Universal Flu Vaccine research. We also provide NIH the funding to continue confronting our most urgent health care crises, including maternal health and opioid misuse.

We further accelerate lifesaving biomedical research with $2.75 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, ARPA-H, to accelerate the pace of scientific breakthroughs for diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer.

We are increasing funding for the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, including a significant increase for the three-digit 9-8-8 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and other mental health services, as we reduce the impact that substance use and mental illness have on communities everywhere.

We reduce unacceptable disparities impacting underserved communities with increased funding for racial and ethnic health disparities research. And as the gun violence epidemic continues to violently and tragically take too many children and adults from us, we are increasing funding for gun violence prevention research at CDC and NIH.

Strengthening our public health also means confronting the grievous reality that women’s rights are under attack all over this country. This bill strengthens our support for women’s health and stands firmly in our defense of reproductive care, providing $500 million for Title X family planning services and eliminating the discriminatory Hyde Amendment.

These investments are vast, but their impact is critical to the progress and well-being of our nation. Americans are looking for a lifeline, and this bill gives them that.  

Let me say, again, a thank you to Ranking Member Cole and the staff on both sides of the aisle for their hard work. Thank you to our majority Clerk, Stephen Steigleder, and his team: Jennifer Cama, Jackie Kilroy, Laurie Mignone, Philip Tizanni, Cassie Boles, Kaia Greene, and Alanna Paul. Thank you to the minority staff: Susan Ross and Kathryn Salmon. And I want to say a thank you to the staff in my office, including Becky Salay, Jack Rayburn, Caitlin Peruccio, and Marie Gualtieri

117th Congress