Washington DC – Yesterday, four provisions that Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) authored were included in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development spending package (H.R. 2740) that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 226-to-203.
These amendments to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education section provide services and improve programs that will benefit children, families, and workers. DeSaulnier successfully included more amendments to this section than any other Member of Congress.
“After years of Republican cuts to critical funding programs, Democrats are prioritizing the needs of American families. The amendments I authored support children’s education, improve cancer patient treatments, prioritize the mental health of our nation’s youth, and protect workers across the country,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.
In addition to his amendments, DeSaulnier also successfully advocated for a tripling of the funding in the original bill for Parent Training Information Centers, which provide supports to parents and families of children with disabilities, and secured a $69 million increase for the Wage and Hour Division at the Department of Labor, which is responsible for enforcing laws that protect our workers.
DeSaulnier’s amendments included in H.R. 2740 would provide funding for the following:
- Improving Statewide Family Engagement Center (SFEC) Program: Due to an error at the Department of Education, last year’s SFEC grantees were going to be forced to reduce their budgets by 9%. This amendment would make them whole, ensuring that students and families continue to get the services they need.
- Studying Ways to Improve Doctor-Patient Communication: While medical treatments and research have advanced significantly over the last few decades, the fundamental interaction between a doctor and his or her patient is critical to the understanding of treatment and the mental health of the patient. This amendment supports a National Cancer Institute (NCI) study on how to improve communication between cancer care providers, cancer patients, and survivors to improve outcomes.
- Increasing Access to Mental Health Services in Schools: Thirteen percent of children aged 8 to 15 experience a severe mental disorder at some point. Yet only about half of children with a mental health condition receive the services they need. This amendment would improve access to mental health support for children by setting aside $5 million in Children’s Mental Health Services Grants funding to be used in school-based mental health programs to meet students’ needs on site.
- Evaluating Labor Trends: Currently, data on job loss due to automation is anecdotal. The real implications of the job impacts of automation cannot be ignored and should be seriously studied so we can help protect those who may get left behind. This amendment directs the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the Department of Labor to collect data on job loss due to automation; job loss due to shifting employees to contractors; and the causes of mass layoffs.
“A budget reflects the priorities of a nation, and with these amendments we are helping families in Contra Costa and across America,” concluded DeSaulnier.