Nicole Hager, 202-224-4515
Hatch Highlights Finance Committee Legislation that Helps Kids and Families
Finance Committee Chairman Celebrates CHIP, Family First, MIECHV Victories with Utah, National Leaders
WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today hosted several Utah and national leaders to celebrate the longest extension of Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in program history, the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act and the reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV).
Hatch thanked the attendees for helping shape and pass the major legislation this year. Find his full remarks below:
I want to thank all of you for being here today to recognize some of the important things we’ve achieved this year. You have all worked together with me to pass major legislation helping kids and families. I may get a lot of the credit, but you all did a lot of the work. During my service, I’ve worked hard to find bipartisan solutions to problems facing children and families. Throughout the difficult political and policy conversations we had on CHIP, I pushed hard for a 10 year extension of the program.
I am so pleased that we made that a reality. Providing certainty to kids and families through CHIP is one of areas I am most proud to have worked on over the past 42 years, and it remains a bipartisan model of policy success.
I’m also proud that the Family First Prevention Services Act became law this year, a bill I introduced with Senator Wyden. Too many kids end up in foster care because their families don’t have the help they need, and now states will have more tools to help families in crisis so they can safely stay together.
We also renewed a key home visiting program that helps parents with young children. And instead of telling states and local governments what to do, they get to choose the program that works for them—as long as there’s evidence it works.I’m so glad we have this opportunity to reflect on these achievements, and I’m grateful to be with you so we can celebrate these achievements together.
Hatch created the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) with former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) more than two decades ago. The program, which bridges the gap for families who don’t qualify for programs like Medicaid but still cannot afford private insurance, is successful and financially responsible, and continues to receive bipartisan support.
Earlier this year, Congress enacted a six-year CHIP extension – the longest in the program’s history – based in large part on a bipartisan agreement Hatch struck with Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) added four more years of CHIP funding, ensuring that the program is funded through FY2027.
Hatch also successfully negotiated the inclusion of two other Finance Committee products in the BBA, the Family First Prevention Services Act and the Strong Families Act of 2017.
The Family First Prevention Services Act will help keep more children safely with their families instead of placing them in foster care. This legislation supports states in providing evidence-based services to prevent children from entering foster care, encourages states to place children with foster families instead of in group homes, and reduces bureaucracy for and provides help to relatives so more children can live with family if they must be removed from their homes. Hatch introduced the Family First Prevention Services Act in June 2016, along with Wyden and committee members Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
The Strong Families Act of 2017 was introduced by Finance Committee Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and cosponsored by many members of the Committee. This bill funds the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program through FY2022 and provides states with grants to support evidence-based home visiting programs for at-risk families, particularly women and children. This proposal received strong bipartisan support.
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