Lowey statement at subcommittee markup of FY 2019 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill
I’d like to thank Chairman Cole, Chairman Frelinghuysen, and Ranking Member DeLauro for their work on this bill.
After working much of last year into the spring of this year to secure a bipartisan spending agreement, which provided $18 billion in additional non-defense funds for Fiscal Year 2019, House Republicans have prioritized unnecessary funds for President Trump’s border wall and cruel immigration policies while providing absolutely no increase to this vital bill to adequately address the education of our children, the burden of college debt, the health of Americans, and the training of our workforce.
Last year, the Senate Labor, Health, and Education subcommittee produced a bipartisan spending bill, finding compromise on funding and preventing unnecessary, dangerous policy additions. This year, to date, Senate appropriators broadened their bipartisan work to other subcommittees, by avoiding riders and passing bipartisan bills, including Interior and CJS, which continue to be chock full of extraneous riders in the House bills.
We should be working to emulate the Senate success instead of wasting time on partisan bills that have no chance of enactment.
The bill before us today is filled with misplaced priorities and missed opportunities. Even though it contains an admirable $1.25 billion increase to biomedical research and a $560 million increase for emergency preparedness, it doesn’t provide an additional dime to the allocation of the largest non-defense bill, failing to keep up with America’s health care, education, and workforce needs.
And in efforts to appease the right wing of their conference, Republicans have loaded this bill with riders that affect every American, including blocking implementation of the Affordable Care Act, stalling medical research, and harming workplace rights. This bill would continue the war on women’s health by attacking Planned Parenthood and eliminating family planning and teen pregnancy prevention, all while increasing funding for abstinence only programs, which studies show do not work. Quite simply, this bill would lead to more unintended pregnancies.
Even former HHS Secretary Price, when he testified before this Subcommittee last year, said that Title X is often “an individual’s only line of opportunity to gain access to the kind of care they need.” And yet this bill would eliminate funding, leaving women with fewer options, all while cutting Community Health Centers.
I look forward to a rigorous debate at full committee in hopes that we can work together to improve this bill. Where it stands today, I, and my Democratic colleagues, cannot support this partisan product.