Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered remarks on the House floor on the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022. Honoring the legacy of Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), this bipartisan bill helps vulnerable families and improves the health of moms and babies through pregnancy into the early years of a child’s life.
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Rep. Brady’s full remarks as prepared for delivery appear below.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
This week we honor the legacy of Representative Jackie Walorski by renewing our commitment to help moms and babies thrive.
I want to thank Chairman Davis and I want to thank our Republican Leader Dr. Wenstrup for your leadership on this issue.
Throughout her life, Jackie served vulnerable families – from the mission field of Romania to the halls of Congress, where she proudly represented the men and women of Indiana’s Second Congressional District.
She reached across the aisle and worked closely with Chairman Davis to move this important bipartisan bill forward.
My last conversation with Jackie was by Zoom on this bill itself. We miss her very much and we are proud to dedicate the product of our collaboration today, to her. That’s because she has been an inspiration to these efforts. Jackie knew that this was a critical program that supports vulnerable families and improves the health of moms and babies through pregnancy into the early years of a child’s life.
This program builds upon decades of research that proves home visits by a nurse, social worker, or other trained professional during pregnancy and in the very first years of a child’s life helps to prevent child abuse and neglect, supports positive parenting, improves maternal and child health, and promotes the development of the kids and school readiness.
This is a bipartisan bill that reflects many of our Republican priorities, including increasing transparency about outcomes and results for families and targeting dollars to the neediest communities.
Most federal programs unfortunately operate in a black box. Less than $1 out of every $100 the government spends is backed by even the most basic evidence and research to make sure that the money is spent wisely and succeeds.
But unlike many of those programs, MIECHV is evidence-based – so we know the real impact on families and children and we are able to direct funding toward what works for them.
The Walorski Home Visiting Program will gradually increase funding from $400 million a year to $800 million a year over a five-year period, and introduces a state match so we can stretch those dollars even further back home.
The principle is simple: Where the states see value in investing, the federal government will also invest.
It also ensures the new matching funds are allocated to states based on the number of children under five living below poverty – so funding goes where the need and the kids are.
The bill increases transparency by creating what I love, which is a state-by-state outcomes dashboard so all of us can see how these interventions are helping families, and maintains the current focus on high evidence standards.
I want to take a moment to thank my friend, Dr. Brad Wenstrup – who serves today as acting Republican Leader of the Worker Family Support subcommittee for Ways and Means. You stepped up to the plate to carry on Jackie’s legacy with grace and determination. Thank you for your hard work.
I think all of us can think of no more fitting tribute to Jackie than the bipartisan support, coming together, for something that helps our most needy families. I, like many of us today, are grateful that we are getting this bill across the finish line together in her honor.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.