Today Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto) voted against Republican-backed legislation in the House of Representatives, that guts investments made to improve the health and well-being of low- and middle-income women and children. H.R. 4628, the Republican bill to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, unfortunately passed the House of Representatives with a 215 -- 195 vote.
"Today's vote to eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund serves as yet another example of House Republicans putting politics over the well-being of American families," said Rep. Baca. "Instead of working with Democrats on a bipartisan measure that would prevent an increase in student loan interest rates, Republicans pursued a plan that undermines the health of women and children by stripping away vital funding for breast cancer screenings, childhood immunizations, and screening newborns for birth defects."
The Prevention and Public Health Fund was established as part of the historic health care reform law, and is designed to assist community efforts to prevent disease, detect it early, and manage conditions before they become severe -- and it has been particularly important for America's women and children. Underscoring its importance to America's families, under the President's proposed FY 2013 budget the Prevention and Public Health Fund would provide:
$143 million for breast and cervical cancer screenings;
$107 million for programs to address birth defects, including screenings of newborns for hearing loss and congenital heart defects; and
$72 million for childhood vaccinations.
"I am committed to enacting legislation before the July 1st deadline that will block the doubling of student loan rates," concluded Rep. Baca. "But to politicize this issue, and to do so at the expense of the health of America's women and children, is just plain wrong. I remain hopeful that Congress can go back to the drawing table, and find a bipartisan path forward that keeps student loan rates low, and also safeguards the health of low-income women and children."