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Black Maternal Health Caucus Co-Chairs Underwood and Adams Celebrate Historic Momnibus Investments Included in Energy & Commerce Committee Build Back Better Markup

September 15, 2021
Press Release
The Energy & Commerce Committee advanced critical investments from the Momnibus, including funding to address social determinants of maternal health, grow and diversify the perinatal workforce, and support community-based organizations working to promote maternal health equity

WASHINGTON—Today, Black Maternal Health Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14) and Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) applauded the Energy and Commerce Committee for advancing critical investments from the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (H.R. 959/S. 346) in the Committee’s markup of the Build Back Better Act. The legislation now goes to the House Committee on Budget before heading to the full House of Representatives.  

“Today’s Energy and Commerce Committee markup was a historic milestone in the mission to save moms’ lives and end maternal health disparities in the United States,” said Rep. Underwood, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “I’m thankful for the leadership of Chairman Pallone in advancing the Momnibus through the Committee’s Build Back Better Act legislation, including critical resources for community-based organizations, funding to address social determinants of maternal health, and investments in the perinatal workforce. We are closer than ever to making the transformative change that is needed to achieve true birth equity in the America and I am grateful for the support of the Biden-Harris Administration, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and maternal health champions in the House and Senate as we work together to get this legislation passed and signed into law.”  

“I’m overjoyed the Build Back Better Act will include the Kira Johnson Act and the vast majority of our landmark Momnibus legislation,” said Rep. Adams, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “With the inclusion of the Momnibus, the Build Back Better Act makes over $1 billion in historic investments in the health and care of moms. It is nothing short of a game-changer for Black mothers as well as every parent bringing a child into the world. Now more than ever, it is critical that we pass the Build Back Better Act so that we can pass essential parts of the Momnibus as well. As a Black mother and grandmother, take it from me: Black mamas can’t wait!” 

The Energy & Commerce Committee’s Build Back Better Act legislation includes historic investments from the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act to save moms’ lives, end racial and ethnic maternal health disparities, and advance birth equity across the United States: 

  • Provides $175 million in funding for local entities to address social determinants of maternal health like housing, nutrition, and environmental conditions – including a minimum of $75 million exclusively for community-based organizations working to promote maternal health equity. 
  • Provides $275 million to grow and diversify the perinatal health workforce, including nurses, midwives, physicians, doulas, and maternal mental and behavioral health professionals – including $50 million specifically for doulas. 
  • Provides $100 million for maternal mental health equity grant programs. 
  • Provides $85 million to address the impacts of climate change-related maternal and infant health risks through health professional schools. 
  • Provides $50 million to advance maternal health research at Minority-Serving Institutions like Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and AAPISIs. 
  • Provides $50 million to promote representative community engagement in Maternal Mortality Review Committees. 
  • Provides $160 million to strengthen federal maternal health programs like the CDC’s Surveillance for Emerging Threats to Mothers and Babies program, Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality (ERASE MM), Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). 
  • Provides $60 million to expand access to digital tools and technologies that promote maternal health equity. 
  • Provides $25 million for bias trainings among health care professionals. 

The Build Back Better legislation also includes a mandatory provision that will make federal funds permanently available for states to spend on expanded postpartum Medicaid and CHIP coverage to one year in every state, with full state plan benefits throughout pregnancy and the yearlong postpartum period. A summary of the legislation can be found here.

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (H.R. 959/S. 346) was reintroduced in February 2021 by Underwood, Adams, and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). The Momnibus builds on existing maternal health legislation with 12 bills to comprehensively address the clinical and non-clinical drivers of the maternal health crisis in the United States. The Momnibus makes critical investments in addressing social determinants of health, funding community-based organizations, growing and diversifying the perinatal workforce, and improving data collection processes. The Momnibus also includes new legislation to address the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change on maternal and infant health outcomes.