FY 2015 Bill Maintains Funding Levels, Includes AOUM Policy Rider

FY 2015 Bill Maintains Federal Funding Levels, Includes AOUM Policy Rider

Last night, Tuesday, December 9, 2014, the negotiated fiscal year (FY) 2015 funding package, Consolidated and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 and accompanying report language, was released by appropriations leadership. The bill includes funding through the remainder of the fiscal year for 11 of the 12 appropriations bills, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) funding bill. The 12th funding bill, Homeland Security appropriations, is extended through February 2015.

The funding bill contains level funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI) at $101 million and the Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) at $31 million. Unfortunately, the bill also maintains $5 million for the Competitive Abstinence Education (CAE) grant program.

Most concerning, however, is the inclusion of a new abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) policy rider. The new provision changes the Title V AOUM program to reallocate FY 2015 unused Title V AOUM funds, approximately $12-$15 million per year that has previously been returned to the U.S. Treasury. These funds will be made available only to states “that require the implementation of each element described” by the eight points of the federal A-H definition of “Abstinence Education” and “submit a valid application consistent with the original formula for this funding,” such as providing state funding or in-kind match ($3 state for $4 federal).[1]

SIECUS is very disappointed that in the currently constrained fiscal climate, Congress continues to advance funding for programs that have been proven to be ineffective in addressing the long-term sexual health needs of our nation’s young people; particularly when programs such as TPPI, DASH, and the authorized Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) are unable to expand the reach of evidence-informed, medically accurate, and age-appropriate approaches to securing adolescent health given their limited resources and uncertain futures.

Congress is expected to pass a two or three day Continuing Resolution (CR) to provide enough time for votes later this week on the final funding package. SIECUS will continue to educate Congress as to the harms of AOUM programs and this new policy rider, but given the nature of the closed-room negotiations and quick timeline for passage it is unlikely that there will be an opportunity to strip the rider from the final bill.

More information on the funding and language for SIECUS’ priorities is below. For questions or more information, please contact Jesse Boyer at jboyer@siecus.org.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI)

  • $101 million (level to FY 2014 funding)
  • $6.8 million PHS Act evaluation transfer (decrease of $1.7 million from FY 2014)
  • General Departmental Management for the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) not specified

New bill language: The funding breakdown is changed from fixed amounts for Tiers 1 and 2 to not more than 10% for administration of program; 75% of remaining for replicating programs that have been proven effective through rigorous evaluation (Tier 1); and 25% of remaining for research and demonstration grants (Tier 2).

Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH)

  • $31 million (level to FY 2014)

New report language: “Youth under the age of 24 have one of the highest rates of HIV diagnosis. CDC is encouraged to improve outreach and education to this population via youth-based programs.”

Competitive Abstinence Education (CAE) Grant Program

  • $5 million (level to FY 2014)

Bill and report language the same as FY 2014.

New Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Policy Rider

New bill language: “SEC. 229. The remaining unobligated balances of the amount appropriated for fiscal year 2015 by section 510(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 710(d)) for which no application has been received by the Funding Opportunity Announcement deadline, shall be made available to States that require the implementation of each element described in subparagraphs (A) through (H) of the definition of abstinence education in section 510(b)(2). The remaining unobligated balances shall be reallocated to such States that submit a valid application consistent with the original formula for this funding.”

New report language: “The agreement includes a new provision requiring unused abstinence education funding to be reallocated to qualifying states.”

[1]Sec. 510. [42 U.S.C. 710]

(2) For purposes of this section, the term “abstinence education” means an educational or motivational program which—

(A) has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity;

(B) teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school age children;

(C) teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems;

(D) teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;

(E) teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;

(F) teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society;

(G) teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; and

(H) teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.