Funding for Pee Dee non-profit could be cut by proposed federal bill

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — A non-profit organization based in the Pee Dee is asking Congress to continue funding for the non-profit organization or it would have to shut down.

A bill introduced in Congress could take away funding from organizations under departments like health and human services.

“While it’s about money, it’s a difference in policy issues,” David White said, a political science professor at Francis Marion University.

Pee Dee Healthy Start began helping people in 1991. The organization works to reduce the infant mortality rate and provides healthcare services to children and families.

The local organization gets about $1.1 million in federal funding, while the national Healthy Start program said it receives $145 million in federal dollars. The national organization is based in 111 communities across the country.

Madie Robinson, the executive director for Pee Dee Healthy Start, said they work in seven counties helping mothers, fathers, and children.

Robinson said they’ve been able to help many people turn their lives around and be able to buy homes and cars.

“And so why not invest in a program that helps to give you many, many returns on the dollar that it’s spending,” Robinson said.

House bill 5894, introduced on Oct. 6, is related to the 2024 fiscal budget which should have been finalized on Sept. 30 of last year.

Every year, Congress decides which departments and programs get certain funding.

David White, a political science professor at Francis Marion University said the bill is about Republicans wanting to reduce federal funding.

White said Congress has until March 8 to either push back the deadline or make a decision on the budget.

“These are things that are important to Democrats,” White said. “And Republicans have things important to them, and how do you know what’s important to governments, it’s where they spend their money.”

Madie Robinson, the executive director for Pee Dee Healthy Start, said it uses some of its federal funding for hiring nurses, operational costs, and educational resources.

Robinson said if the bill does pass, along with a budget being approved, Senate committees can then decide what programs are cut out.

Robinson hopes Healthy Start is not one of them.

“We’ve been good stewards of the federal dollars that have been given to maximize the use of those dollars to help babies be born healthy and to help their mothers become productive citizens,” Robinson said.

Robinson believes if they can properly educate legislators on the work they do, they can persuade them to not take away funding.

White said he doesn’t see the Senate passing the bill because the Senate has a Democratic majority.

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Adrianna Lawrence is a multimedia journalist at News13. Adrianna is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and joined the News13 team in June 2023 after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2023. Keep up with Adrianna on Instagram, Facebook, and X, formerly Twitter. You can also read more of her work, here.

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