Today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (L-HHS) marked-up its spending bill for fiscal year 2017. The partisan bill released just yesterday renewed efforts to dismantle critical public health programs. It came as no surprise that the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, and the HIV prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were flat funded. Nor were we surprised that the resources to ensure youth have access to medically accurate sexual health information were cut in favor of increasing the funding for abstinence-until-marriage education by $10 million.
The bill eliminates money for the Title X Family Planning program, and defunds the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The former, provides vital preventive health care services and HIV testing for millions of low-income clients each year, while the ACA has made it possible for over 20 million Americans to gain access to quality health insurance, and regular health providers. It also provides vital non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in healthcare.Eliminating either of these programs runs counter to the protecting the public health. Efforts of our allies to restore funding for these provisions failed on voice vote.
Beyond the attack on public health programs, the funding section for the Department of Education included a provision designed to prevent the Administration from enforcing federal civil rights laws that protect transgender students from discrimination.
The subcommittee passed the measure by voice vote. We will continue working with our allies to restore funding to the programs to that protect the health and rights of LGBTQ Americans when the House Appropriations Committee considers the L-HHS spending bill in the weeks ahead.