CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 5462 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, Septemer 28, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The legislation was introduced on May 28, 2010 by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
H.R. 5462 would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish and implement a birth defects prevention and public awareness program to award grants to States or organizations for the provision of pregnancy and breastfeeding information services. Preference will be given to states or organizations that made pregnancy and breastfeeding information services available on January 1, 2006, and organizations that will provide pregnancy and breastfeeding information services in such states. States or organization must contribute 25 percent in matching funds. Furthermore, the Secretary must coordinate with other birth defects prevention and environmental health activities of the Federal government. Lastly, the Secretary must evaluate the effectiveness of these grants in providing information and raising awareness.
H.R. 5462 authorizes $32.5 million to be appropriated through fiscal year 2016.
Some members may be concerned that the bill would authorize the spending of $4.5 million for fiscal year 2012, $5.5 million for fiscal year 2013, $6.5 million for fiscal year 2014, $7.5 million for fiscal year 2015, and $8.5 million for fiscal year 2016.
Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding often have difficult questions, such as if they should continue taking medications for chronic diseases, or whether they should get vaccinated against H1N1 or the seasonal flu. The bill would establish a grant program to revitalize the national network of pregnancy risk information services (PRISs), more than half of which have closed over the last decade due to lack of funding. Over 70,000 women seek information from these essential services each year.
There are no CBO cost estimates available at this time. However, the bill would authorize appropriations of $32.5 million through FY2016.