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LHHSE Report Language Impacts Women and Families

The House Appropriations Committee report accompanying the FY2002 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill (H.R. 3061) includes language detailing a number of programs that affect women and families. Although report language is not binding, federal agencies give careful consideration to such language as it indicates programs or initiatives that are particularly important to appropriators.

Department of Education
Reading First and Early Reading First: The bill would provide $900 million for the Reading First State Grants. According to the committee report, the new program would “provide assistance to states and local school districts in establishing scientific research-based reading programs for all children in kindergarten through grade three.” The Early Reading First program would target children ages three through five to develop “verbal skills, phonemic awareness, and prereading development.”

Teacher Quality: State Grants for Improving Teacher Quality is a new program that would consolidate the Eisenhower professional development program and the class size reduction program. According to the committee report, states are authorized to retain 5 percent of funds for state activities for efforts to improve teacher quality.

Loan Forgiveness for Child Care: The bill would provide $1 million for loan forgiveness for child care providers. Under the program, individuals who have earned a degree in early childhood education and who work for two years as a child care provider in a low-income community may have a portion of their student loans forgiven.

Department of Health and Human Services
Abstinence Education: Abstinence education funding under the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant would receive $40 million. The committee report notes that it “supports abstinence education for adolescents, ages 12 through 18, and supports expansion of efforts to present an abstinence-only message to America’s youth.” The report continues, “It is important, however, to ensure that America’s youth do not receive mixed messages, or medically inaccurate information” and makes clear that “nothing in the legislation is intended to prevent these adolescents from seeking health information or services.”

In the report language, the committee states that it is “committed to studying the effectiveness of abstinence education, of sexuality education, and the lack of education in these areas.” As a result, 3.5 percent of funds provided for such education must be used to study, track, and evaluate groups of youths who receive such education. The committee further states that “criteria for success should include prevention and reduction of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including both viral and bacterial; rates of abortion; age at first sexual activity and intercourse; frequency of sexual activity and intercourse; and numbers who postpone sexual activity or intercourse through adolescence.”

Ryan White: Within the funding provided for the Ryan White CARE Act, $123.2 million would be provided for activities that address the “growing HIV/AIDS epidemic and its disproportionate impact upon communities of color.” According to the committee report, more than 60 percent of people living with AIDS are racial minorities.

Additionally, $17 million would target efforts to provide “comprehensive, culturally competent and linguistically appropriate research-based intervention and HIV care services to minority women, infants, and children.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Under the CDC budget, $80.28 million would be provided for birth defects, developmental disabilities, and disability and health activities. That represents a $9.55 million increase over last year and a $4 million increase over the budget request.

Chronic disease prevention and health promotion would receive $722.5 million, a $27.21 million decrease from last year and $147.94 million more than the President’s request. Within that amount, $32.73 million would be provided for heart disease and stroke, $4.6 million would be provided for ovarian cancer, $101.1 million for tobacco prevention initiatives, $58.33 million for safe motherhood/infant health, $49.47 million for HIV/AIDS, and $189.3 million for breast and cervical cancer.

The WISEWOMAN program, operated through the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), would be level-funded. Committee report language would allow NBCCEDP funds to be used to reimburse for HPV/DNA tests for women with inconclusive Pap test results, noting that “the test would help distinguish false positive and true positive Pap test results, allowing for more appropriate decisions regarding colposcopy, biopsy, and treatment.”

Committee report language also urges the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics to “review the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey with the intent of expanding this survey to add a reporting requirement to track the medical care and interventions that women receive during pregnancy and delivery.”

The committee would provide $1.15 billion for HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and tuberculosis prevention at the CDC. Of that amount, $844.21 million would be provided for domestic HIV/AIDS programs, $137.53 million would be for global HIV/AIDS programs, and $67.7 million would be for STD programs. Report language urges the CDC to “give its HIV strategic plan high priority, especially with regard to behavioral research, development, implementation and evaluation of prevention and intervention programs for at-risk subpopulations such as racial and ethnic minorities, adolescents, women, sex workers, substance abusers and incarcerated individuals.”

Report language urges the CDC to “expand support for microbicide research and development and support the priorities established in the HIV prevention strategic plan and the tropical microbicides five-year research agenda” under its global HIV/AIDS programs.

Report language also states that of the amount provided for domestic HIV/AIDS programs, $100 million be devoted to address the impact on racial and ethnic minorities.

National Institutes of Health (NIH): Committee report language urges the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the NIH to “expedite current research in screening methods to detect, diagnose, and identify staging of ovarian cancer” and encourages the NCI to fund four ovarian cancer Specialized Programs of Research Excellence.

Additionally, report language urges the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the NIH to “expand its research on cardiovascular diseases in women…including…cost effective diagnostic approaches for women and to create more informational and educational programs for women patients and health care providers on heart disease and stroke risk factors.”

The committee also encourages the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH to “enhance research aimed at improving awareness, diagnosis and treatment for the entire family of autoimmune diseases.”

Report language under the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the NIH encourages the institute to “support research to understand the relationship between pregnancy and lactation and bone mass in adolescents.” Language also urges the institute to “enhance its research efforts into the cause of pre-term delivery.”

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the NIH is urged to “support research on third generation effects of diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure, the long-term risks of cancer among DES-exposed daughters and sons and genetic markers for DES exposure through all available mechanisms.”

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases at the NIH is encouraged to “enhance research efforts that would increase understanding of the factors associated with the high prevalence of lupus in women and people of color.” Additionally, the committee encourages the institute to enhance research to study osteoporosis in non-white women.

The National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the NIH is urged to research the “rising incidence and mortality rate of breast cancer in African-American women.” Additionally, the institute is urged to study the risk factors, causes, and consequences of osteoporosis among racial and ethnic minorities.

Report language also encourages the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to further explore the use of military technology in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

The Office of Research on Women’s Health at the NIH was provided an increase under the bill. Committee report language states that the additional funding will permit the office to “continue to enhance, stimulate, and co-fund meritorious research on sex and gender factors in basic and clinical studies.” The committee also urges the NIH to expand research into the “understanding of the health implications of both silicone and saline breast implants.”

Committee report language calls on the NIH to “move ahead expeditiously to implement the President’s policy concerning support of scientifically meritorious research involving both adult and human embryonic stem cells.”

The committee report also urges the Director of the NIH to “begin implementation of the annual strategic plan for microbicide research, product development and evaluation” and provide a report to the committee on such progress.

Osteoporosis: The committee urges the U.S. Surgeon General to issue a report to the nation on the status of research and education on osteoporosis and related bone diseases.

Department of Labor
The committee report notes that the Women in Apprenticeships and Nontraditional Occupations program will continue to work with the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau to recruit, hire, and retain women in nontraditional jobs, particularly jobs in “high technology.”

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