What We’re Watching in Congress – December 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, Congress has indicated that they intend to act on several priorities many of which are important to 1,000 Days. Here are a few things we’ll be watching:

Continuing federal funding for Fiscal Year 2020

Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on December 20th, giving lawmakers less than a week to pass a measure to keep the government open through the holidays. Negotiators from the House and Senate have announced a tentative a deal, which 1,000 Days is monitoring closely. We remain in touch with key legislators in this process, encouraging them to enact funding to ensure all moms and babies can depend on the support and services they need for a healthy 1,000 days.

Paid parental leave for federal employees

Congressional Leaders and the White House have agreed to include a provision providing 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees in the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (S.1790). If passed, this will provide 2.1 million workers with paid time off from work after the birth or adoption of a new child. 1,000 Days is encouraged by this important step, but we recognize that the work continues to ensure comprehensive paid leave is available to all workers. Read our statement here.

Committee action on paid leave

Last Tuesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing on the need for a national, comprehensive paid leave policy. Led by Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, lawmakers emphasized the important promise of paid leave for American families. 1,000 Days, along with more than a dozen maternal and child health partner organizations, submitted a letter to the Committee commending them for holding this important hearing and underlining the importance of paid leave to families in the 1,000-day window.

Supporting Healthy Outcomes for Mothers and Infants Act

In November, Rep. David Trone (D-MD), along with Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Ann Kuster (D-NH) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), introduced the Supporting Healthy Outcomes for Mothers and Infants Act (H.R. 5249). This legislation directs USDA and HHS to produce nutrition education materials for WIC families coping with substance use disorder and neonatal abstinence syndrome, and updates outdated and stigmatizing language in the Child Nutrition Act to reflect current understandings of substance use disorder. 1,000 Days will continue to work with lawmakers and partners to ensure that WIC meets the needs of all moms and babies in the 1,000-day window.