Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the senior Democrat on the House of Representatives funding committee for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Departments, released the following statement today on the proposed Fiscal Year 2013 funding bill. Violating last December's budget agreement, the legislation calls for a $6.8 billion overall reduction in funding from last year's levels, obliterating programs that provide health care, educate children, prevent the spread of disease and ensure seniors receive Social Security in a timely manner, just to name a few critical areas.
"The bill put forth today by Chairman Rehberg is nothing more than the reckless implementation of the Romney-Ryan Budget. This legislation--that primarily deals with programs affecting women, children, vulnerable families and the very health of our nation--bears far too many harmful cuts, especially at a time when these populations are struggling to stay out of poverty in the first place. Particularly irresponsible is the provision that eliminates funding to "implement, administer, enforce, or further the provisions' of the historic health care reform recently upheld by the Supreme Court. This means the bill would basically stop, among other things, preventative health care services to women, care for children with pre-existing conditions, health insurance exchanges where individuals and small businesses can shop for coverage on the same basis as large corporations, and closure of the prescription drug donut hole for seniors.
"But the legislation does not stop here, and goes on to target the most vulnerable in our society for the deepest cuts. Cuts to programs that improve our schools and combat child abuse, substance abuse, elder abuse, mental health issues, teen pregnancy and domestic violence are all devastating. Our ability to promote patient safety in our nation's health care system would be virtually abolished. And that is to say nothing of the nearly two dozen ideological policy restrictions that are inappropriately included. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.
"I am also disappointed at the lack of collaboration between myself and the Chairman on this bill. Yes, our areas of agreement are far and few between, but the lack of dialogue was shameful, both for the process and as a reflection on Congress. The complete absence of any cooperation seems to be an anomaly particular to this subcommittee and I am saddened that it occurred."