**Click here to watch Ranking Member Capito’s opening statement.**
**Click here to watch Ranking Member Capito’s first round of questions.**
**Click here to watch Ranking Member Capito’s second round of questions.**

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, today questioned U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on the department’s funding and policy priorities for FY2024. The hearing was the subcommittee’s first of the current budget cycle and Senator Capito’s first as subcommittee ranking member

During the hearing, Ranking Member Capito spoke with Secretary Becerra about a number of issues important to West Virginia—including Alzheimer’s, child labor, substance use prevention, Medicare Advantage, COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and response, and more.


REGULAR ORDER: “I would like to take a moment to recognize Senators Murray and Collins, who are the new chair and vice chair of the full committee. They are committed to returning to regular order to write and pass appropriations bills in a bipartisan and timely manner. I wholeheartedly support this approach. And this budget hearing is a necessary first step for the process.”

BLOATED BUDGET: “Unfortunately, this this budget appears to be another bloated partisan request that simply spends too much money after the record level of spending that we've seen over the past few years. Simply put, the budget should not be enacted. I don't think it will be. We can't afford to ramp up base discretionary spending by a whopping 13%.”

POLARIZING BUDGET: “At a time when we should be looking at common growth goals to improve the health of Americans across the nation, the budget further wades into polarizing issues, such as repealing the Hyde Amendment, proposing additional flawed climate change activities, doubles funding for controversial gun violence research, and increases funding for family planning by almost 80%.”

PRIORITIES IGNORED: “But I'm really disappointed not about what was included, but what wasn't included. Programs and activities that typically enjoy bipartisan support received little or no attention in this budget and are flat funded. For instance, there are no new resources specifically for Alzheimer's Research at NIH… Similarly, the budget stalls funding for the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education Program and diabetes prevention. We have a huge problem with diabetes throughout the country, particularly in our state.”

COVID-19: “And I was surprised to see that the budget, yet again, requests mandatory funding for pandemic preparedness and response. As our nation thankfully moves past the COVID-19 public health emergency, Congress will now need to better understand how HHS is ramping down programs that received emergency supplemental and mandatory resources to avoid funding cliffs in the future.”

DRUG CRISIS: “Substance use challenges continue to face the nation, and I don’t think have received enough mention in this budget. While the budget repeats many of the unobtainable funding levels for substance use programs from the fiscal year 2023 request, the White House budget overview rarely mentions fentanyl or opioids. My home state has been in the crosshairs of the opioid and addiction crisis for several years now. We continue to lead the country in overdose deaths per capita. Since fiscal year 2018, this subcommittee has increased resources toward opioid prevention and treatment programs by more than $4 billion. I know we need to shape the programs we’ve got, so I want to know how these funds and programs are moving the needle in the addiction crisis.”


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