Lowey statement at subcommittee markup of 2018 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill
I’d like to acknowledge Chairman Cole, Ranking Member DeLauro, and Chairman Frelinghuysen for their work on this bill.
This bill is the inadequate result of the false choice the Appropriations Committee has confronted all year. Its commendable elements come at the expense of national priorities that are on the chopping block purely because House Republican Leadership continues to dither and avoid coming to the table to find a suitable spending agreement.
One of my proudest achievements is increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health from this Subcommittee, so I am very pleased this bill would increase it again by $1.1 billion.
But we’ll have fewer future research scientists under this bill, as it does not meet the growing needs of our education system, and would cut funding for teacher development, literacy grants, and afterschool enrichment.
Even if we invest heavily in research on diabetes, cancer, heart disease and more, cuts to chronic health and tobacco programs at the CDC would mitigate overall improved health outcomes.
Of course, as in past years, funding is only part of the story. Attacks on women’s health and dangerous policy provisions continue to plague this bill.
Even though Secretary Price said that Title X is often “an individual’s only line of opportunity to gain access to the kind of care they need” and the President even included funding for Title X family planning in his budget proposal, this bill would eliminate Title X, continue Republican efforts to attack Planned Parenthood, and dismantle access to comprehensive health services for women. It even would end Teen Pregnancy Prevention grants, while increasing funding for abstinence only programs that studies show do not work.
There are many more items of concern, including robbing the Pell Grant surplus, cuts to substance abuse prevention, and the elimination of Apprenticeship Grants and funds to help low-income students afford child care, among others. In essence, this bill would make it more difficult for future students to afford college, and leave more Americans without the training for high-skilled jobs.
With an adequate top-line and allocation, we could work together to invest in our students, the health of our communities, job creation, and the strength of our labor force. Unfortunately, this bill would fail to meet this commitment.