Chairwoman DeLauro House Floor Remarks on Consideration of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Fiscal Year 2020 Bill
(As prepared for delivery)
I rise to speak about the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.
To start, let me recognize the ranking member, Tom Cole, for his work on this bill. We have worked closely together over the years because of the mutual respect that we have for one another. While we have differences of opinion, we have the same values about the scope of these programs and who it ought to be benefiting.
We have put together very strong and serious resources in the Labor-H bill. And, let me thank the chair of the full committee, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, for making the Labor-H bill a high priority.
The Labor-HHS-Education bill supports some of the nation’s most critical programs.
They touch individuals and families throughout their lifespan: from Early Head Start to the Social Security Administration.
For 2020, the Subcommittee is providing a total of $189.9 billion in discretionary funding. It is an increase of nearly $12 billion over last year’s enacted levels.
Our mission has been to advance a positive agenda; to look at issues where programs have been starved; and to reflect the oversight we have been conducting. I believe we have done so.
To arrive at these figures, we hosted twelve hearings: on the budget, on predatory for-profit colleges, federal student loan servicing, the unaccompanied children program, wage theft and the administration’s cost-increasing changes to the Affordable Care Act.
We collected nearly 15,000 requests from Members. And, we fulfilled – in part or in whole – more than 90 percent of them.
With this input, we produced what I believe to be historic investments in working people, in students, in parents, in children, in families, and in our future.
We make an historic $4 billion increase over last year for early childhood programs—$2.4 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant equal to 300,000 new slots for child care, $1.5 billion for Head Start, and $100 million for Preschool Development Grants.
We also increase funding for K-12 education by $3.4 billion. $1 billion more for Title I. $1 billion more for IDEA State grants for special education.
And in postsecondary education, we make an additional investment of $928 million. We increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $150 dollars (from $6,195 to $6,345).
Then, health. We make a net increase of $2 billion in the National Institutes of Health, enabling a 5% increase for all institutes and centers. We are also increasing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget by $938 million.
We held the first appropriations hearing on gun violence prevention research in two decades. Experts told us the CDC and the NIH can do and must do this research. So, we provide $50 million.
And we are investing in women’s health. That includes a $114 million increase for Title X. Title X provides annually more than four million low-income women and men with contraception counseling services and health screenings. These investments transform lives.
We know this president is highly invested in continuing what we call attacks on women’s health. And we know the power of the White House and that the president will reject a repeal of the Hyde Amendment. That is why this bill maintains current law with regards to the Hyde Amendment.
The Hyde Amendment is a discriminatory policy that makes access to basic reproductive health care contingent on your income. That is simply wrong, and I oppose it as do others. 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, with regards to reproductive rights.
Finally, we invest in working people whose pay does not keep up with their rising costs. They struggle to deal with health care, prescription drugs, child care. We invest an additional $1.2 billion to help working people find good-paying jobs and to protect and empower them in the workplace. That includes $69 million more for at least 500 new investigators at the Wage and Hour Division to combat wage theft and help working people receive their full pay.
I am also proud of the new initiatives we are introducing. We provide $150 million for community colleges and other four-year institutions to train working people for in-demand industries.
For too long, working people and middle-class families have been shortchanged. We are moving ambitiously to make sure that we provide every individual with a better chance at a better life. Because we believe that that is our obligation as members of the Congress.