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Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Report Language

The Senate Appropriations Committee report accompanying the FY2002 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill (S. 1536) 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 “help ensure that every child can read by third grade.” The Early Reading First program would receive $75 million. The program would target children ages three through five to develop “verbal skills, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, pre-reading skills, and early language 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. The committee report directs the Department to report to Congress on how much money was spent to reduce class size and how many new teachers were hired through the program.

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

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Maternal and Child Health Block Grant (MCHBG): The MCHBG would receive a $9.9 million increase to $719.1 million in FY2002. According to the committee report, the increase was provided to allow states to meet unmet needs as identified in a recent five-year review.

Additionally, the committee report urges the Office of Adolescent Health within the MCHBG to continue funding the Partners in Program Planning in Adolescent Health, “a public-private initiative that promotes an adolescent health care agenda among professional disciplines.”

Healthy Start: The Healthy Start initiative would be level-funded at $89.99 million. Committee report language notes that “adequate funding” was provided for the National Fetal and Infant Mortality Program, which is a public-private initiative to review community fetal and infant mortality rates. The program is run through the Maternal and Child Health Bureau in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Title X: Title X would receive a $12.09 million increase to $266 million in FY2002. Report language notes that an increase was provided for Title X in order to “address increasing financial pressures…to provide high-quality, subsidized family planning services.” The report further instructs HHS to distribute all family planning funds no later than 60 days after enactment of the bill.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Under the CDC budget, $88.75 million would be provided for birth defects, developmental disability, and disability and health. That represents an $18.02 million increase above last year and $12.47 million more than the President’s request.

Committee report language states that sufficient funds have been provided for the CDC to develop guidelines for the diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome, incorporate the guidelines in curricula, and disseminate the curricula to medical students and practitioners. The report also recommends that the CDC coordinate its efforts with the National Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

According to the committee report, funding for the WISEWOMAN program, operated through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program by the CDC, would be increased to allow the program to operate in up to 20 states.

The committee also calls upon the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC to “work together to review the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Survey with the intent of expanding this survey, and to explore the possibility of a mandatory reporting requirement to track the medical care and interventions that women receive during pregnancy and delivery.”

The Senate bill would increase funding for HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis prevention programs by $77.46 million to $1.12 billion. Report language urges “that racial minorities be more fully targeted and included in HIV prevention efforts.” Additionally, the report urges the CDC to fund microbicide research through funds provided for global HIV/AIDS activities. “These funds could support clinical trials of microbicides set forth in CDC’s HIV Prevention Strategic Plan and its topical microbicides 5-year research agenda.”

Noting that workplace violence is the second leading cause of death among women workers, the committee report states that increased funding has been provided for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health at the CDC to “develop an intramural and extramural prevention research program that will target all aspects of workplace violence.”

National Institutes of Health (NIH): Committee report language encourages the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the NIH to report to Congress by April 1, 2002, about existing and future efforts to understand the disparity in breast cancer mortality and morbidity among African-American women.

The committee also encourages the NCI to collect and analyze data on the risks of breast implants and whether there is a link between breast implants and breast cancer.

Stating that ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest cancers for women, the committee urges the NCI “to expedite current research on screening methods to detect, diagnose, and identify staging of ovarian cancer.”

Committee report language also urges the NCI to continue its efforts to research the effects of exposure to diethylstilbesterol (DES) and urges the NCI to continue its implementation of a national education program in conjunction with the CDC.

Additionally, report language urges that 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.”

Report language encourages the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to support research targeted to urological disorders affecting women in order to “substantially prolong the ability of many elderly women to remain in their homes.” The report also encourages the NIDDK to “aggressively support research that will enhance” recent advances in interstitial cystitis, a bladder disease that predominantly affects women.

Noting that women represent 61 percent of all deaths from stroke, report language states that the “committee is concerned that very little research has been directed toward understanding gender differences in stroke and cerebrovascular disease.” As a result, the committee urges the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the NIH to “increase research specifically in the area of stroke-related care, risk factors, preventive strategies, acute stroke management, aspects of post-stroke recovery and long-term outcomes among women.”

The committee further commends the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH for partnering with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to support research related to gender differences in immunologic disease.

Committee report language calls for more research to understand the relationship between pregnancy, lactation, and bone mass in adolescents, and encourages the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the NIH to “provide a database of bone density across a decade for white and minority children and adolescents.” Additionally, the report states that the “committee continues to place a high priority on research to combat infertility and speed the development of improved contraceptives” and the NICHD is urged to continue its “aggressive activities in this area.”

The committee also urges the NICHD to “sponsor a planning workshop for the purpose of defining research questions regarding the causes of pre-term delivery, building on previous research surrounding the role of infection and the immune response, and the role of genetics.” In addition, the committee report commends the NICHD “on its strategic plan to translate research on reproductive health to reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancy and to identify usable strategies to increase knowledge about healthy adult sexuality and improved reproductive care.”

The NICHD is also urged to “aggressively increase efforts that will lead to an understanding of the physiological endocrine mechanisms that allow uterine fibroids to grow and become symptomatic.”

Noting the “serious lack of research on the relationship between the environment and breast cancer,” the committee report strongly urges the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the NIH to establish centers to conduct multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research on environmental factors that may be related to breast cancer.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at the NIH is encouraged to “devote additional resources to studying osteoporosis in non-white women, as well as understanding the genetic predisposition of osteoporosis in certain populations.”

Report language under the NIH’s Office of the Director urges the NIH to begin implementation of a five-year strategic plan for microbicide development and to report to the committee by March 31, 2002, on the status of the microbicides program.

The committee report urges the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health to use its increased funding for new research activities and to expand career development programs for women scientists. Additionally, the report “strongly supports the creation of new interdisciplinary research centers to focus on multi-systemic diseases in women.”

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): Committee report language specifically “rejects the administration proposal to set aside $4 million within the block grant for states to provide certificates for low-income parents to help defray the costs of after-school programs with an education focus.” The committee notes that after-school programs are offered and funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. Additionally, of the $2 billion allocated for the CCDBG, the committee recommends that $19.12 million be made available to support resource and referral programs and before- and after-school programs; $272.67 million be made available for child care quality activities; $100 million be made available for an infant care quality initiative; and $10 million be made available for child care research, demonstration, and evaluation activities.

Head Start: The committee urges HHS to continue to focus on improving the quality of Head Start teachers by improving teacher compensation and by increasing staff development efforts.

Maternity Group Homes: Unlike the House bill, the Senate bill would provide $33 million for a new initiative for maternity group homes as proposed by the President. According to the committee report, the Administration for Children and Families “will provide targeted funding for community-based, adult-supervised group homes for young mothers and their children.”

Embryo Adoption Awareness: The committee report would provide $1 million for HHS to “launch a public awareness campaign to educate Americans about the existence of these spare embryos and adoption options.”

Public Health Service’s Office on Women’s Health: Stating that the committee strongly supports the various women’s health offices throughout HHS, the committee urges the Secretary to notify the committee in advance of “any significant changes in the status of these offices.” The report also encourages the office to increase its support of the National Bone Health Campaign.

Department of Labor Committee report language urges the Women’s Bureau to “provide increased support for effective programs such as ‘Women Work!’, to provide technical assistance and training on programming for women in transition.”

Additionally, the report includes $10 million for the Department to pursue global workplace HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs in cooperation with the International Labor Organization.

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