Chairwoman DeLauro Statement at Subcommittee Markup of FY 2020 Labor-HHS-Education Funding Bill

2019-04-30 13:39

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of 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 2020 bill:

The meeting of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies is called to order.

Today’s markup of the fiscal year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies bill is the culmination of a lot of hard work, from members and staff, on both sides of the aisle. 

For fiscal year 2020, the Subcommittee is recommending a total of $189.8 billion in discretionary funding. It is an increase of nearly $12 billion over last year’s enacted levels. I want to thank the chair of the full committee, Ms. Lowey, for making the Labor-HHS-Education bill such a high priority.

We do not have a budget agreement yet. But unlike in years past, we do have a roadmap, with regards to the allocations. We do not have time to not move forward. Unfortunately, the White House has expressed an interest in being intransigent and not making a budget deal. But for us, sequestration is unacceptable. So, with bipartisan buy-in, I believe our approach here we will be successful.

In fact, the Subcommittee received nearly 15,000 requests. We were able to fulfill – either in total or in part – more than 90 percent of them. So, that includes requests from both sides of the aisle. I firmly believe that without the allocation, we would not have been able to have such a high success rate.

The requests reflect the importance of the Labor-HHS-Education bill. It supports some of the nation’s most critical programs. From Early Head Start to Social Security, they touch individuals and families throughout their lifespan. They make opportunity real and allow America to realize its promise.

We saw what we can accomplish for the people over the past two years, particularly in 2018. We secured on a bipartisan basis a more than $13 billion increase for the programs in this bill, in that year alone. We nearly doubled the money for child care and increased our investments in biomedical research, education and more. I want to recognize the current ranking member, Tom Cole, for his work on those investments. This bill builds on what we worked on together the last several years. While we may have our differences, different backgrounds, different parts of the country, different political philosophies, we came together. Underlying all of that is there is a mutual respect.

That is why I believe there is a bipartisan view that the president’s budget would not carry the day. While we have done some things with his proposal, in large part, his proposal is a reflection of the administration’s values, which do not reflect the values of this country and which we do not subscribe to.

Instead, our mission has to put forward a positive agenda that repeats the bipartisan success of 2018 and that was sustained in 2019; to look at issues where programs have been starved; and, to reflect the oversight we have been conducting.

We hosted a total of twelve hearings, and a private member briefing—4 hearings on the budget, a public witness day, Member Day, a private briefing with HHS’s Inspector General, and oversight hearings in a variety of areas. Those include predatory, for-profit colleges, federal student loan servicing agency, the unaccompanied children program, wage theft and the administration’s policy changes to the Affordable Care Act that have raised costs for families. I want to thank the members on both sides of the aisle who participated in these efforts.

Overall, we have tried to meet those three goals I outlined and I believe we have.

So, today we are recommending historic investments in our people, in our country and in programs that each of our constituents support. I am proud to do so and to help finally meet our obligations to children, for child care, to education, to science and health care for all.

We recommend a historic $4 billion increase over the fiscal year 2019 enacted level for early childhood programs—including increases of $2.4 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, $1.5 billion for Head Start, and $100 million for Preschool Development Grants.

With these increases, 300,000 more children will have access to quality child care and 80,000 more children will have access to Early Head Start programs.

We also increase funding for K-12 and postsecondary education by $4.4 billion over last year’s enacted level for a total of $75.9 billion. That includes:

  • $1 billion increase for Title I grants to a total $16.859 billion;
  • $500 million increase for Title II state grants, the only dedicated funding for teacher professional development for many States and districts to a total of $2.55 billion;
  • $1 billion increase for IDEA State grants to a total $13.4 billion to help us better meet our obligations with regards to supporting the education of our students with special needs.
  • $260 million for a new initiative on social-emotional learning. We know these interventions have lasting positive impacts on students.

Speaking of positive impacts, I will also note that we rejected the administration’s proposal to eliminate federal funding of the Special Olympics. Instead, we recommend a $3.5 million increase for a total of $21.2 million.

          Finally, with regards to postsecondary education, we recommend more than $5 billion to help our students access and complete the post-secondary education they will need to compete in the modern economy through $2.4 billion for campus-based aid programs for students and $2.7 billion for programs that support students.

  • $150 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award from $6,195 to $6,345 to help the grant keep up with inflation.
  • $35 million increase for GEAR UP to a total of $395 million;
  • $100 million increase for TRIO programs to total of $1.16 billion.
  • $250 million increase for programs that aid colleges and universities that primarily serve communities of color to a total of $917 million.

One area that we have been particularly successful in promoting with bipartisan support is funding for the National Institutes of Health. We continue that here, with a net increase of $2 billion, which will allow almost a 5% increase for all institutes and centers.

We know the impact that public research dollars can have with regards to saving lives. This subcommittee held the first hearing on gun violence prevention research in over 20 years. As we discussed, gun violence killed 40,000 Americans last year. Experts have told us there is a need for public health research, that both the CDC and the NIH have the authority to conduct this research. So, now we are providing $50 million. Our public health agencies can and must help us understand strategies to reduce firearm injury and death.

We are also making a significant investment in public health by increasing the CDC’s budget by $921 million over current levels.

And we are investing in women’s health, which I am proud to do. We are:

  • Increasing our focus on reducing maternal mortality—by maintaining last year’s investment of $50 million and adding an additional $10 million in this bill;
  • Increasing funding for teen pregnancy prevention by $9 million to a total of $110 million;
  • And, increasing Title X family planning by $113 million to a total of $400 million. Title X providers serve more than four million low-income women and men every year, offering contraception counseling services and health screenings including for STDs, cervical and breast cancer, and HIV/AIDs.

Together, the investments made in this bill will transform women’s lives for the better.

Unfortunately, I know that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will focus only on abortion as the one aspect of women’s health. They would block women across the country from accessing the health care they need, demonstrated by the relentless policy attacks and underfunding of key programs that enable women and families to access the care that they need, and deserve. These extreme ideological attacks interfere with women's personal health care decisions, weaken the provider-patient relationship, and relegate a woman’s right to control her health care choices from being unassailable to be being dependent on geography. And we know this president is highly invested in continuing these attacks on women, and we also know the power of the White House and that this president will reject a repeal of the Hyde amendment. That is why this bill maintains current law with regards to the Hyde Amendment.

Make no mistake, the Hyde Amendment is a discriminatory policy that makes access to basic reproductive health care based on your income. That is simply wrong, and I oppose it. We will continue the long fight and we will win that fight in the near term to ensure that women of color, low income women and all women are on equal footing, in regards to their reproductive rights.

We firmly oppose the administration’s policies with regards to women’s health.

However, we do support the administration’s plan to reduce HIV transmission 90 percent in 10 years. So, we include $120 million for programs through Health Resources and Services Administration to increase access to the ground-breaking HIV drugs and the $140 million for CDC’s work in HIV outreach and disease monitoring, which the administration had requested. But, we go even further. We recommend an additional $46 million for the Ryan White program, recommend additional funds for the Minority AIDs initiative, and recommend an additional $150 million for NIH’s HIV research because we must continue to fund research until we have a vaccine or a cure.

          Finally, we are investing in workers. The single biggest economic challenge of our time is that Americans are in jobs that do not pay them enough to live on. To help, we provide $5.8 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs and $1.8 billion for worker protection agencies. That includes:

  • A new $150 million investment in our community colleges and other four-year college partners to help train workers for in-demand industries;
  • $150 million increase for Jobs Corps to $1.86 billion;
  • $69 million increase to $298 million for the Wage and Hour Division, which as we discussed in our recent hearing on wage theft, employs fewer investigators today than it did in 1948;
  • $67 million increase to $341 million for the National Labor Relations Board;
  • $103 million increase for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to $660 million.

I am so proud of what we are doing in this bill, to bolster existing programs as well as to advance what is new and innovative. For example, we recommend:

  • $150 million for new investments in community colleges and other four-year institutions to train workers for in-demand industries;
  • $260 million to support “whole child” approaches to education through a social-emotional learning initiative.
  • And, $100 million for the first year of a new initiative to modernize public health data systems at the federal, state, and local levels—which will greatly improve disease surveillance and public health response at all levels.

For too long, working people and middle-class families of this country have been shortchanged. So, this Committee is moving ambitiously to make up for lost ground and to make sure that we provide every individual with a better chance at a better life.

One final note, I would like to acknowledge the staff who have worked so hard to get this done.

For the majority: Brad Allen, Jared Bass, Jennifer Cama, Robin Juliano, Jackie Kilroy, Laurie Mignone, Stephen Steigleder and Philip Tizzani.

And, for the minority: Susan Ross and Kathryn Salmon.

Now, let me turn to my colleague, the ranking member from Oklahoma, for whatever opening remarks he would like to make. Mr. Cole?

116th Congress