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 Legislative and Policy Corner

President’s Budget Proposal Released for Fiscal Year 2019
On Feb. 12 the White House released President Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2019, which outlines the administration’s funding priorities for the coming fiscal year.

According to the HHS Budget in Brief, the budget request for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant is $628 million. This would be a $13.7 million cut to the Title V Block Grant compared to its current funding level.

AMCHP strongly opposes the Trump administration’s proposed cut to the Block Grant and will actively advocate for Congress to fund the Title V MCH Block Grant at $650 million for FY 2019.  

CR Passes with Five Years for MIECHV!
On Feb. 9 Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through March 23. Importantly, this deal also included a two-year agreement to raise the budget caps, which means Congress can finally get to work on a final appropriations package for FY 2018 and avoid sequestration. 

We are thrilled to share that this CR included a five-year extension for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV) at current funding levels; extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional four years (in addition to the recently passed six-year extension); and created two-year extensions for other critical health programs such as community health centers, the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), and Family to Family Information Centers. In addition, the CR package included $90 billion in further disaster aid for recent hurricanes and wildfires and $6 billion to address the opioid epidemic. 

Unfortunately, the bill enacted some cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund to offset other costs, though these cuts are smaller than originally proposed by the House of Representatives. We will continue working with our partners in the public health advocacy community to protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund from further cuts in the future and to advocate that increased funds now available due to raised budget caps be used to prevent cuts to the important programs funded by the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

AMCHP Hosts Successful Hill Visits and Congressional Reception
Last week, in conjunction with the AMCHP annual conference, dozens of conference attendees visited their members of Congress and met with congressional staff to discuss the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant and other key topics related to maternal and child health. The AMCHP Hill visits included congressional offices representing 23 states, House and Senate leadership, and each of the health policy and funding committees.

On Feb. 12, AMCHP hosted a reception on Capitol Hill attended by AMCHP members, partner organizations, and congressional staff to honor AMCHP’s 2018 Legislative Champion for Maternal and Child Health Award winners Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.).