September 3, 2015
September is shaping up to be a busy time for Congress and the Administration. Following their August district work period, Congress returns to DC next week and has a long list of things to accomplish in the coming weeks. September 30, 2015 is the fiscal year (FY) 2016 funding deadline, but even more urgent is the September 17, 2015 deadline for Congress to vote on the international nuclear deal with Iran.
The limited number of scheduled in-session dates this month is contributing to the growing likelihood of a short-term funding bill (Continuing Resolution) to buy more time for funding negotiations, or even a possible federal government shutdown. Final budget cap levels, program funding, and policy riders – like more attacks on Planned Parenthood – are all up for debate between the parties and between the House, Senate, and the President.
Before Congress returns, however, here’s a recap of the summer action in the nation’s capital:
Funding Threats In June 2015, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees passed different Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) FY 2016 funding bills. Other than continuing level funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), both funding bills would effectively eliminate the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) and go so far as to triple funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) programs. These funding bills are tied up in the broader debates over final FY 2016 funding and are not expected to move further in their respective chambers. They will, however, inform behind-the-scenes negotiations. Read More and Take Action!
Education Legislation Advances On July 16, 2015, Congress moved one step closer to reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) with the bipartisan Senate passage of S 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA). In addition to the Senate bill’s core components regarding annual testing for reading and math and giving states more control over low-performing schools, ECAA includes new provisions to support safe relationships education, establish health as a core curriculum topic, and support pregnant and parenting students. Passage of ECAA follows the partisan passage of HR 5, the Student Success Act, in the House the previous week. The vastly different Senate and House bills now proceed to conference, where efforts will focus on seeking a balance between White House and Democratic priorities to protect vulnerable students versus the Majority Republican demands to reduce the role of the federal government in education. Read More
National HIV/AIDS Strategy Updated to 2020 At the end of July 2015, the White House released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Updated to 2020 (NHAS 2020). Building upon President Obama’s 2010 National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the first-ever in U.S. history, the updated Strategy emphasizes the importance of sexuality education for young people and “across generations,” as well as the role that parents, communities, and schools play in providing sexual health information and tools within “safe, inclusive, and destigmatizing” environments. Additionally, the Strategy highlights that comprehensive sexuality education for school-aged youth “has not been brought to scale across the country” and recommends the scale up of effective structural interventions. Federal agencies are already hard at work collaboratively developing the federal action plan to implement the updated strategy. Read More
SIECUS will continue to monitor congressional action and keep partners updated and aware of opportunities to share support for funding and policies to advance comprehensive sexuality education. For questions or more information, email Jesse Boyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.