“Though the omnibus is imperfect, communities across the country and in Milwaukee will reap the benefits of federal investments in housing, health care, nutrition assistance, our veterans, mental health services, energy assistance, and more.
A critical issue in Milwaukee is the crisis of domestic violence, and I have made it my priority to secure resources to prevent this violence and help survivors and their children, which is why this bill’s inclusion of $700 million for the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs, the highest level of funding ever for these programs, is crucial.
My lived experiences mean that I can now support the programs which helped me when I was a poor, single teenage mother. Because of the caring assistance of a home visiting nurse, I learned how to change my baby girl’s diaper and other important parenting skills, so I am thrilled that this bill carries a bipartisan five-year reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program with increased levels of funding that will help Wisconsin and other states serve more families.
As a Congresswoman, I am so pleased to see increased funding for this critical program for five years. I wouldn’t serve in Congress without TRIO. As a TRIO alum and co-chair of the TRIO Caucus, I am so excited to have fought for and secured a $54 million increase in funding, helping more low-income and first-generation students access the support they need to succeed.
I am also proud that my legislation to remove penalties for survivors who dip into their retirement funds to build a new life for themselves was included in this package. I was honored to have the opportunity to use my seat on the Ways and Means Committee to change our retirement policies to support survivors.
I am so pleased that this omnibus includes $6 billion in WIC funding, which is the amount I called for in a bipartisan letter with Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón (PR). The omnibus also includes the Pregnant Women Fairness Act and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act that will help support working mothers and help ensure they are protected and supported in the workplace.
This legislation also secures much-needed stability for 40 million children by making reforms that ensure children stay covered in CHIP and Medicaid for up to 12 months – even if their parents’ income changes.
This package will make the summer EBT program permanent, ensuring that families with children eligible for reduced or free school meals receive a $40 allowance each month, for each child. These funds will help fight food insecurity when children are out of school – often challenging months for our most vulnerable children. This will change lives. Another vital program, especially for my constituents during Wisconsin’s winter months is the Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). That’s why I have consistently led efforts calling for robust federal funding. These calls were answered, as LIHEAP is set to receive $5 billion in funding.
The Great Lakes is a recreational, economic, and environmental good in our region that must be protected. The Great Lakes Authority Act, my legislation with Rep. Marcy Kaptur that’s included in the omnibus package, would create a federal commission to help coordinate and support regional efforts to support economic growth, poverty reduction, broadband expansion, clean energy production and other infrastructure needs. The bill also again increases funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has provided over $2 billion to restore and protect the Great Lakes since it was created by the Obama Administration.
Even though this omnibus includes key priorities that will benefit my constituents, I am very disappointed there was no inclusion of the enhanced Child Tax Credit. This credit was incredibly effective policy: infusing billions into local economies while reducing child poverty, hunger, and hardship for families. And I am also disappointed at the absence of commonsense immigration proposals to provide permanent protections for DACA recipients and other vulnerable immigrants in the face of misguided opposition from the other side of the aisle.
This legislation also lacks funding I sought to help fund more doulas to address the maternal mortality crisis in our communities and my proposal to secure a childcare allowance for trade-impacted workers through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which could help those who are parents advance into good-paying jobs.
However, this doesn’t mean the end, I will continue championing these family-supporting efforts in the new Congress.”