Blunt Releases FY2020 Labor, HHS, & Education Appropriations Bill
Panel Backs Increased Funding for NIH Research, Ending HIV, Opioid Abuse Fight, Pell Grants
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Committee on Appropriations today released the FY2020 subcommittee chairman’s recommendation for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill.
The FY2020 Labor-HHS Appropriations bill combines $178.3 billion in base allocation with $9.4 billion in changes in mandatory programs. This represents a one percent increase over the FY2019 enacted level – the same percentage increase the subcommittee received from FY2018 to FY2019. The measure for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and related agencies continues investments in critical medical research, opioid abuse prevention and treatment, and education. In addition, the bill includes $492 million pursuant to the 21st Century Cures Act.
“This bill funds a wide range of programs that have one thing in common: improving the quality of life for every American,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee. “I’m proud that we continue our pattern of increasing funding for groundbreaking medical research at the National Institutes of Health. The $3 billion NIH increase in this bill marks a 40 percent increase over the past five years, paving the way for new advances that are giving hope to millions of families. This bill continues the fight against the opioid epidemic and provides states more flexibility to tackle other types of addiction that are claiming lives every day. For the millions of people who struggle with a mental health issue, the bill directs resources toward certified community behavioral health clinics, mental health programs in schools, and suicide prevention programs.
“The bill also focuses on giving every American the opportunity to be successful in whatever educational or career path they choose. This year, we’ve started a new initiative to ensure that high-school age kids have the ability to pursue a full-range of post-secondary options – whether it’s attending a four-year university, a community college, or entering an apprenticeship program – to help them not just get a job, but build a career. We have also once again increased the maximum Pell Grant award and continued eligibility for Year-Round Pell, and maintained investments in core elementary and secondary education programs. This bill reflects numerous priorities that have had broad support on both sides of the aisle and I'll continue working with our entire Appropriations Committee to move it forward,” Blunt concluded.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) – $3 billion increase. Since Republicans took back the Senate starting with the FY2016 appropriations cycle, the Committee has increased funding for NIH by $12 billion or 40 percent. This amount includes a $350 million increase for targeted Alzheimer’s research and $50 million for the President’s Childhood Cancer Data Initiative.
- Ending the HIV Epidemic – The bill includes $266 million, an increase of $210 million, to support the President’s HIV initiative to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 90 percent in 10 years.
- Fighting Opioid Abuse – $3.9 billion, an increase of $70 million. New flexibility is provided to states to use funding to combat the increasing level of stimulant use. Funds are targeted toward improving treatment and prevention efforts; finding alternative pain medications; workforce needs, especially in our rural communities; and behavioral health. Funding to address opioids has increased by $3.6 billion or 1,300 percent, since Republicans took over the Senate in FY2016. This investment has been a primary factor in the total drug overdose deaths falling in 2018 for the first time in nearly three decades.
- Mental Health – As a critical part of both combating opioid abuse and ensuring safety in our schools and communities, the bill provides $3.7 billion for mental health programs, an increase of $305 million.
- College Affordability and Completion – Includes a $135 increase, or 2.2 percent, for the maximum Pell grant award, from $6,195 to $6,330 for the 2020-2021 academic year. The bill continues support for Year Round Pell, and maintains critical funding for campus-based aid programs, TRIO, and other higher education programs.
- Elementary and Secondary Education – The bill prioritizes formula grants that provide the most flexibility for states and school districts to decide how to best use limited resources to meet the educational needs of students and families, and maintains funding for core elementary and secondary education programs.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
The bill provides $12.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Labor, $28 million above FY2019.
Veterans Employment Training (VETS) Programs – $306 million, an increase of $6 million above FY2019. VETS funding provides for intensive employment services to veterans and eligible spouses, transitioning service members, wounded warriors, and disabled veterans. This increased funding will support veterans in transition from the military to the civilian workforce, implementing reforms required by the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, and supporting military spouses reduce occupational barriers.
Rural Workforce Training Initiative – $30 million in continued funding for the dislocated worker training initiative, Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities, to provide reemployment and training assistance to dislocated workers in rural areas of the country hit hardest by the recession and recovering more slowly. Funding is devoted to training those who have lost their jobs in the Appalachian and Delta regions to ensure they can adapt existing skills and learn new skills demanded by other growing industries and return to work as soon as possible.
Apprenticeship Opportunities – $170 million, an increase of $10 million, for training programs utilizing the flexible and effective apprenticeship model.
Workforce Training Programs – $2.8 billion distributed by formula to states and localities to meet each state’s unique job training and reemployment needs.
Youth Career Pathways – $10 million in new funding to establish a youth career pathways demonstration program to improve opportunities for students to pursue the full-range of post-secondary and career options.
Governor’s Statewide Reserve – The bill once again allows the full 15 percent state training grant funding reserve for governors to address a variety of statewide training needs, projects, expanded partnerships, emergency response, and other services as needed throughout their states.
Job Corps – $1.7 billion to support the nation’s largest career technical training and educational program for at-risk youth, with centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
YouthBuild – $89.5 million to help at-risk high school drop-outs develop skills and knowledge to obtain industry-recognized job credentials, apprenticeships, and employment.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
The bill provides $93.4 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, a $2.9 billion increase above the comparable FY2019 level.
National Institutes of Health – $42.1 billion, an increase of $3 billion, or 7.7 percent, above FY2019. The bill includes:
- $2.82 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, a $350 million increase;
- $50 million in new funding for the President’s Childhood Cancer Data Initiative;
- $500 million for the BRAIN Initiative to map the human brain, a $71 million increase;
- $380.8 million for the Institutional Development Award, a $19.2 million increase;
- $500 million for the All of Us precision medicine study, a $161 million increase;
- $801 million for research on opioid addiction, development of opioids alternatives, pain management, and addiction treatment;
- $600 million to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, a $50 million increase;
- $589.4 million for the Clinical and Translational Science Award, a $29.7 million increase;
- $25 million in targeted funding for the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act;
- $12.6 million for the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act;
- More than $100 million increase for buildings & facilities funding for NIH’s Bethesda Campus after the National Academies released a report in August pointing to a $1.3 billion backlog in maintenance on campus; and
- Increases to every Institute and Center to continue investments in innovative research to advance fundamental knowledge and speed the development of new therapies, diagnostics, and preventive measures to improve the health of all Americans.
Ending the HIV Epidemic – The bill includes $266 million, an increase of $210 million, to support the President’s HIV initiative to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 90 percent in 10 years.
- NEW $140 million for CDC activities to expand the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis [PrEP] and develop approaches to better detect and respond to clusters of HIV cases. In addition, CDC will use resources to invest in core HIV prevention programs at State and local health departments to provide the foundational infrastructure in America.
- $120 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), including $50 million in base funding for Community Health Centers to support outreach, testing, care coordination, and HIV prevention services, including the use of PrEP. Also included in HRSA funding, $70 million in NEW funding for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program to increase treatment for individuals living with HIV and the use of antiretroviral therapy.
- $6 million for NIH to continue research through Centers for AIDS Research and AIDS Research Centers.
Mental Health – The bill provides $3.7 billion for mental health programs, an increase of $305 million, including:
- Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics: $200 million, an increase of $50 million, for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics that provide a comprehensive approach to mental health care treatment;
- Project AWARE: $103 million, a $32 million increase, for this program that supports coordination between schools and State Mental Health Agencies to increase awareness of mental health among school-aged youth, train school personnel on detecting and responding to mental health issues, and connecting school-aged youth and their families with needed services;
- Mental Health Awareness Training: $22 million, an increase of $1 million, for Mental Health Awareness Training;
- Suicide Programs: $88 million, an increase of $14 million. These increases provide support to the suicide lifeline and grants to help identify and help those at risk of suicide;
- Mental and Substance Use Disorder Workforce Training Demonstration Program: New $5 million for grants to medical institutions and community health centers to train professionals to provide SUD and mental health treatment in underserved communities;
- Pediatric Mental Health Access Grants: $10 million for Pediatric Mental Health Access Grants to expand access to behavioral health services in pediatric primary care settings;
- National Institute of Mental Health: $2.08 billion for mental health research at the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $200 million.
Community Health Centers (CHCs) – $1.63 billion for CHCs that serve more than 28 million patients per year through more than 11,000 health centers nationwide. $200 million is provided for CHCs to expand behavioral health and substance use disorder prevention and treatment services, including opioid abuse, and provide access to overdose reversal drugs and recovery support services.
Obamacare – The bill does not provide new funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, several oversight provisions are included in the agreement:
- Risk Corridor – Continues a provision requiring the Administration to operate the ACA Risk Corridor program in a budget neutral manner by prohibiting any funds from the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill from being used as payments for the Risk Corridor program.
- ACA Congressional Notification – Directs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to notify the appropriate Congressional committees two business days before any ACA-related data or grant opportunities are released to the public.
- Health Exchange Transparency – Includes bill language requiring the Administration to publish ACA-related spending by category since its inception.
- ACA Personnel – Includes bill language requiring the Administration to publish information on the number of employees, contractors, and activities involved in implementing, administering, or enforcing provisions of the ACA.
Rural Health Care – $311.8 million for rural health programs. The obstacles faced by patients and providers in rural communities are unique and often significantly different than those in urban areas. The bill focuses resources toward efforts and programs to help rural communities, including $26.5 million, $2 million above FY2019, for Telehealth. The Telehealth program expands the use of telecommunications technologies within rural areas that can link rural health providers and patients with specialists.
Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) – $340 million, $15 million above FY2019. The CHGME program protects children’s access to high quality medical care by providing freestanding children’s hospitals with funding to support the training of pediatric providers.
Global Health Security – $198 million, a $100 million increase, to continue CDC global health efforts critical to the health and security of the United States. CDC will support public health surveillance, laboratory capacity, workforce development, antimicrobial stewardship, and emergency-management capacity development.
Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) – $5.3 billion, an increase of $25 million, which builds on the historic increase provided in recent years to help states fully implement the 2014 reauthorization of the CCDBG Act. This will help states improve the quality of child care programs, including increasing provider rates and ensuring health and safety standards are met, and expand working families’ access to quality, affordable child care.
Head Start – $10.1 billion, an increase of $50 million to help all Head Start programs keep up with costs, recruit and retain highly qualified staff, maintain enrollment, and provide high-quality early childhood services for children and families.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – $3.7 billion, the same as FY2019, for home heating and cooling assistance for low-income households.
Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) Program – $1.3 billion, the same as FY2019. Combined with funding provided in the FY2019 Emergency Supplemental, this will help ensure HHS can maintain sufficient capacity at state-licensed facilities to allow children to be transferred to HHS without delay, and to provide care and services to children referred to their care based on recognized child welfare standards and federal, state, and local requirements.
Medicare Appeals – $182 million, maintaining investments to reduce the Medicare appeals backlog. Reducing the backlog is critical to providing timely resolution to Medicare appeals for the medical community.
Public Health Preparedness and Response – The bill maintains additional funding for critical preparedness and response activities:
- Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) – $562 million for advanced research and development of medical countermeasures for national preparedness efforts.
- Project BioShield – $735 million to enhance national preparedness activities by procuring medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.
- Pandemic Influenza – $260 million to improve the response and enhance the effectiveness of current pandemic influenza capabilities.
- Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) – $675 million to help states to prepare, respond, and recover from emerging threats such as natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.
Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) – $41.3 million, $2 million above FY2019. These centers develop and maintain a diverse health care workforce, broaden the distribution of the health workforce, enhance health care quality, and improve health care delivery to rural and underserved areas and populations.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The bill provides $71.4 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education.
Elementary and Secondary Education – Maintains funding for core elementary and secondary education formula grants while addressing important priorities, including:
- $15.9 billion for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies, the same as FY2019.
- $2.1 billion for Title II Supporting Effective Instruction State grants, the same as FY2019
- $1.2 billion for Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, a $50 million increase, which supports a wide range of activities including STEM education and school safety activities.
- $12.4 billion for IDEA State Grants to support special education for students with disabilities, the same as FY2019.
- $1.5 billion for Impact Aid, an increase of $25 million.
- $1.2 billion, level with FY2019, for 21st Century Community Learning Centers to support academic enrichment activities for students before school, after school, and during the summer.
- $460 million for the Charter Schools Program, an increase of $20 million. This includes $7.5 million specifically to expand charter schools in rural areas.
- $105 million for Safe Schools National Activities, an increase of $10 million, which supports evidence-based activities to improve school safety, prevent violence, and improve school climates.
- $60 million in dedicated STEM education funding within the Education Innovation and Research program, the same as FY2019.
Promoting College Access, Affordability, and Completion:
- Pell Grants – Increases the maximum Pell grant award based on inflation to $6,330, an increase of 2.2 percent or $135, to help students keep up with rising costs, limit the need for student loans, and ultimately graduate with less debt. The bill also continues support for Year Round Pell.
- Campus-Based Aid Programs – $840 million for Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and $1.1 billion for Federal Work Study, both level with FY2019. These programs provide funding for colleges and universities to design financial aid programs to best meet the needs of their students.
- TRIO – $1.06 billion, level with FY2019, for TRIO programs that provide services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and first generation college students to help them enter and complete college.
- Career and Technical Education State Grants – $1.3 billion, level with FY2019.
Institute of Museum and Library Services – $244 million, a $2 million increase above FY2019. This agency supports programs for museums and libraries that encourage innovation, provide life-long learning opportunities, promote cultural and civic engagement, and improve access to a variety of services and information.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting – $445 million for FY2022, level funding with FY2021. An additional $20 million is provided for the current year (FY2020) to continue the process of upgrading the public broadcasting interconnection system.
Corporation for National and Community Service – $1.1 billion, a $1 million increase, including: $425 million for AmeriCorps grants, $208 million for Senior Corps, and $32 million for the National Civilian Community Corps, all the same as FY2019.
OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Increasing the Efficiency and Cost Effectiveness of Government – The bill provides funding for activities aimed at reducing fraud, waste, and abuse of taxpayer dollars, including:
- Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments – $175 million to conduct enhanced, in-person assessments to accelerate the reemployment of Unemployment Compensation recipients to reduce the duration of their time receiving benefits and the likelihood of exhausting benefit coverage. These actions would also help protect the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund by reducing improper payments. This program has been shown to save $2.60 for every $1.00 spent.
- Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC) – $786 million is provided by utilizing the cap adjustment provided in the Budget Control Act. For every $1.00 spent on HCFAC, $2.00 is recovered by the U.S. Treasury. This will create over $10.2 billion in savings to the Treasury over 10 years.
- Preventing Social Security Disability Fraud, Abuse, and Improper Payments – $1.6 billion. This funding supports periodic reviews to ensure that individuals receiving Social Security disability benefits are still eligible under program rules. This funding is estimated to save approximately $9.6 billion over 10 years for the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs.
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