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 Legislative and Policy Corner

Updates on L-HHS Appropriations
The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up its fiscal year 2019 (FY19) appropriations legislation for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS) on July 11. We are pleased to report that the bill the House Appropriations Committee will consider includes a $3.3 million increase for the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant. AMCHP staff have compiled highlights of the FY19 House Labor-HHS bill as reported out last month by the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on L-HHS. We will update this information once the full House Appropriations Committee completes its action on the bill.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY19 L-HHS bill on June 28. The Senate bill proposes a $26 million increase for the Title V MCH Block Grant directed to the Special Projects of Regional and National Significance (SPRANS) portion for two initiatives to address maternal mortality. It also includes a $12 million increase for the Safe Motherhood funding line at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for technical assistance to state maternal mortality review committees. For more information on these initiatives and other MCH highlights from the Senate L-HHS bill, see AMCHP's overview of the Senate bill.

Committee-Passed Maternal Mortality Bill Includes $5M More Than Introduced Version
When the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions unanimously approved the Maternal Health Accountability Act (S. 1112) last month, the committee included an authorization level of $12 million for each year of a proposed grant program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new grant program would provide funding to states to establish or sustain statewide maternal mortality review committees. In a welcome turn of events, this funding level was $5 million more per year than the introduced legislation originally proposed. AMCHP was proud to play a particularly active role in advancing the Maternal Health Accountability Act and will continue to advocate for swift passage in the House and Senate. AMCHP will also advocate for a complementary proposal included in the Senate Appropriations Committee's fiscal year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies legislation that matches the $12 million authorization level of the committee-passed Maternal Health Accountability Act.  (See "Updates on L-HHS Appropriations," above.)

Updates on the Separation of Families at the Border
A federal judge ruled last month that the Trump administration had until July 10 to reunite migrant children under age 5 with their parents and until July 26 to reunite all other children who were separated from their parents at the border under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy. In a July 6 court filing, the Trump administration requested more time to reunite the roughly 100 children under age five separated from their families. In total, up to 3,000 children have been separated from their parents and are in the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to remarks from HHS Secretary Alex Azar on July 5. AMCHP released a statement on June 20 calling on the administration to reverse its policy of separating children from their parents at the border and take immediate steps to ensure the well-being of affected children by reuniting them with their families.

Get Up-to-Date on Federal MCH Policy
The next event in the All-Member National MCH Policy Call series will take place on Thursday, Aug. 2, from 2-3 p.m. ET