"As they depart Washington, DC for the holiday recess, Congress has passed a short term continuing resolution to fund the federal government, but failed to extend several bipartisan programs important to children and families. This inaction will carry real consequences for children's health in the months ahead.
"By failing to extend
long-term funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Congress falls far short of the reassurance and relief families deserve. Instead, they will enter into a new year with no assurance that CHIP will continue to be there for them in the months ahead. What should be a time of comfort, celebration and reflection will instead be one of anxiety, fear and stress.
"Congress also failed to
fund the Maternal
Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), which serves at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children, and several other vital public health and safety net programs. The communities these programs serve already face uncertainty when it comes to their health care, which is now exacerbated by Congress' failure to extend the programs long-term.
"Congress also missed opportunities to enact new policies to protect and support children and families, including
passing the DREAM Act to permanently
extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The children who were protected under DACA have now grown into young adults. They have served our country in uniform, graduated from colleges and universities and have invested their lives and work in our cities and communities. The Trump Administration will end the program in March unless Congress intervenes.
"In addition, Congress failed to
stabilize the health insurance marketplace in the wake of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, neglecting to ensure health care remains affordable and accessible to individuals and families in the private market.
"As we turn toward the new year, in addition to extending CHIP and MIECHV long-term, passing a clean DREAM Act and stabilizing the health insurance marketplace, Congress will have to address how to
pass a budget without further cutting these and other
programs that children and families rely on, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
"Families balance competing priorities every day to ensure their children are healthy; Congress should be able to do the same. As we turn toward a new year, we urge Congress to approach these priorities with a new sense of urgency and pass bipartisan solutions to keep children healthy."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit
www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.