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Underwood secures federal funding for substance abuse prevention, health care

Kaylee Heap and Lauren Underwood speak after the press conference June 15 at Heaps Giant Pumpkin Farm in Minooka.
Kaylee Heap and Lauren Underwood speak after the press conference June 15 at Heaps Giant Pumpkin Farm in Minooka.

Days after District 14 Congresswoman Lauren Underwood announced her bid for re-election, the Naperville Democrat successfully secured funds for health care, climate change awareness, gun violence research and opioid addiction prevention, among other areas.

The legislation passed as a part of the House appropriations package for Fiscal Year 2020, according to a news release that Underwood’s office sent Monday afternoon.

The package provides a $24 million increase, for a total $3.8 billion for substance abuse treatment. Efforts will include opioid prevention and treatment, and three new behavioral health programs, according to the release.

Services tied to women’s economic stability also will receive a boost in funds. A $114 million increase, for a total of $400 million will go toward comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services through the Title X Family Planning Program funding, which McHenry County does not receive.

The package also prohibits the use of funds to enforce President Donald Trump’s “Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance Rule.” Underwood has criticized the rule as not complying with the Affordable Care Act by covering pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits.

“It is unconscionable to think that federal funds are being spent to undermine a law that protects people with pre-existing conditions, allows people up to 26 years old to stay on their parents’ health insurance, and helps make quality health care more affordable,” Underwood said in an official statement.

The package additionally provides funds for education programs that help benefit McHenry County students from disadvantaged backgrounds. $1.2 billion will support Trio funding, which Waubonsee Community College and McHenry County College each receive.

A $5.6 million increase to EPA’s Compliance Monitoring Program will be used toward ambient air testing for ethylene oxide, according to the release. Underwood’s legislation would also prevent federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture from removing public information about climate change.

“Ignoring the link between climate change and extreme weather presents a direct threat to our national security, food security, and to the livelihoods of Illinois farmers who are already starting to feel the impacts,” Underwood said in an official statement.

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