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Apr 7, 2011
On Tuesday, the House’s Energy and Commerce Committee voted to end mandatory funding for the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP). PREP is a state grant program to fund sex education that includes information about abstinence, contraception and adulthood preparation subjects like self esteem, parent-child communication and more.
Like in the previous markup, Republicans argued that PREP was duplicative of over $1 billion in other funding, something that we know is simply not true. PREP is the only state grant program that exists for this kind of funding. What’s more, while Republicans kept trying to stick to their talking points about the United States being in serious debt, they refused to answer Democrat’s questions about why they were going after evidence-based sex education while ignoring Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that study after study has proven ineffective.
Rep. Waxman said the Republicans were trying to “advance a partisan agenda” while “making no policy sense.”
Rep. Eshoo told the other side, “Here comes along one of your favorite things and you abandon your principles.”
Reps. DeGette and Pallone kept pointing out the hypocrisy of wanting to end mandatory funding and stop creating debt, but funding programs that don’t work.
Rep. Baldwin was a huge champion for the PREP program and pointed out why sex education that includes information about both abstinence and condoms is important to young people. Rep. Schakowsky submitted a letter for the record from 120 local, state and national organizations in support of the PREP program.
Two amendments were entered for the record. The first was by Rep. Baldwin that said the repeal of PREP funding can’t happen until Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding is repealed. It failed 17-20, mostly along party lines with the exception of Rep. Bass from New Hampshire.
The second amendment was introduced by Rep. DeGette. This amendment would have changed the PREP bill’s start date to the last day of the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program. It failed 16-23 along party lines.
One of the best moments during the markup was when Rep. Shimkus told the Dems that there are plenty of times to introduce legislation to defund abstinence-only sex ed, and that this isn’t one of them. Rep. DeGette replied there is a bill by Rep. Lee to defund Title V abstinence-only sex ed and she recommended he co-sponsor the legislation which he of course denied.
Unfortunately, the bill to defund PREP passed out of the committee with a 25-17 vote along party lines. Next stop is a full House vote, so be sure to call your Representatives and tell them to defend the Personal Responsibility Education Program’s mandatory funding. To quote Rep. Capps, this “attempt to play politics with PREP is a dangerous game.”
Also, be sure to thank Reps. Baldwin, DeGette, Capps, Eshoo, Waxman, Pallone and Schakowsky for defending the PREP and calling out Republicans on the hypocrisy of defending funding for failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.