Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
Washington, D.C. –The fiscal year 2019 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations bill provides a total of $179.973 billion in discretionary budget authority – $977 million more than the fiscal year 2018 level, $10.7 billion more than the President’s budget request, and $971 million more than the House bill. The total funding includes $178.076 billion in discretionary funding as well as $1.897 billion in cap adjustment funding to prevent waste, fraud, abuse and improper payments in the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security programs. The total program level is $187.8 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion over fiscal year 2018.
Bipartisan Budget Agreement – The fiscal year 2019 bill builds on the investments included in the bipartisan budget agreement. It includes an increase of over $16 billion for non-defense programs compared to fiscal year 2017 levels. Increased funding for discretionary programs include:
- Opioids & Mental Health: The conference agreement provides $3.78 billion in Health and Human Services for programs addressing opioids and mental health, an increase of $2.7 billion over 2017. This includes: $1.9 billion in enhanced state grants to address the opioid epidemic and mental health; $350 million for opioid overdose surveillance and prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as enhancement of State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs; $495 million to improve access to opioid and substance use disorder treatment in rural and underserved areas; and $100 million to address the needs of children who are affected by parental substance use.
- Child Care: The conference agreement provides $5.27 billion, $2.42 billion more than fiscal year 2017 and $2.27 billion more than the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget request, for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).
- College Affordability: The agreement provides $2.4 billion more than fiscal year 2017 levels for a range of investments that make college more affordable. This starts with a total increase in the Pell Grant maximum award of $275 over two years, $175 in fiscal year 2018 and an additional $100 in fiscal year 2019, as well as $250 million in increased funding for Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants and Federal Work Study, two campus-based aid programs the President’s Budget proposed eliminating or sharply reducing.
- National Institutes of Health: The conference agreement provides $5 billion over fiscal year 2017 levels for additional medical research.
- Social Security Administration (SSA): The conference agreement provides $520 million more than fiscal year 2017 for SSA’s base operations.
Key Points & Highlights –
Title I—Department of Labor
The agreement provides $12.1 billion for the Department of Labor, the same as the fiscal year 2017 level and $128 million less than fiscal year 2018.
Workforce Development and Training: The agreement provides $9.1 billion for these programs, including protecting funding for the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act State grants at $2.8 billion and increasing support for the Registered Apprenticeship Grants funding by $15 million, which will expand quality apprenticeships by 10 percent nationwide. It also includes $300 million for Veterans Training Programs, an increase of $5 million over fiscal year 2018, to provide veterans the supportive services they need to re-enter the labor force, including job training and placement, career counseling, resume preparation and other supportive services. The agreement also includes $400 million for the Community Service Employment for Older Americans program, which the President proposed to emliminate this year.
Worker Protection Programs: The agreement also increases investments in the Wage and Hour Division and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, while maintaining other critical worker protection programs at their fiscal year 2018 level.
Title II – Health and Human Services
The agreement provides $90.3 billion for discretionary programs at the Department of Health and Human Services. This is $12.3 billion more than the fiscal year 2017 level and $2.3 billion more than fiscal year 2018.
Medical Research: The agreement provides $39.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, an increase of $2 billion over fiscal year 2018 and $4.1 billion more than the President’s budget request. This includes an additional $86 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, as well as an additional $425 million for Alzheimer’s disease research. Every NIH Institute and Center receives increased funding to support investments that advance science and speed the development of new therapies, diagnostics and preventive measures, improving the health of all Americans.
Infectious Diseases: The agreement provides $50 million for a new Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention respond to an infectious diseases emergency, either at home or abroad. The fund will allow the agency to deploy quickly in case of a public health emergency, such as Zika.
Head Start: The agreement provides $10.1 billion, $200 million more than fiscal year 2018, for Head Start. The increase invests in the Head Start workforce by providing $150 million towards a cost-of-living adjustment. It also includes an additional $50 million for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships and Early Head Start expansions, increasing access to several thousand more families. Early Head Start serves low-income infants and toddlers and their families, providing comprehensive services at a critical time in child development.
CCDBG: The agreement provides $5.276 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, $50 million more than fiscal year 2018 and $2.27 billion more than the President’s request. The funding will help states continue to improve the quality and affordability of child care programs and to increase access so that more parents can go to work knowing their children are safe and learning the skills they need to succeed later in life.
Maternal Mortality: The agreement includes $50 million in HRSA and CDC for a new initiative aimed at reducing maternal mortality. This will fund expanded data collection and surveillance at State Maternal Mortality Review and expanded evidence-based programs to prevent maternal mortality and advance maternal health equity.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: The agreement includes $3.69 billion to assist more than 6 million low income households with their home energy costs. The President proposed to eliminate the program.
Healthcare Workforce Programs. The agreement includes $1.1 billion for healthcare workforce programs, $36 million more than fiscal year 2018, and it rejects the Administration’s proposal to cut $972 million and eliminate dozens of critical programs that train and expand access to physicians, nurses and health care professionals nationwide.
Community Services Block Grant (CSBG): The agreement includes $725 million for CSBG, which is $10 million more than fiscal year 2018 and which the President’s budget would have eliminated. CSBG helps community action agencies alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in almost every county in the nation.
Title III—Department of Education
The agreement provides $71.4 billion for programs at the Department of Education. This amount is $2.6 billion more than the fiscal year 2017 level, $581 million more than fiscal year 2018 and $8.2 billion more than the President’s request.
Title I: The agreement includes $15.9 billion, an increase of $100 million more than fiscal year 2018 and $400 million more than the President’s Budget, for Title I-A grants to local educational agencies. Title I-A assists half of the nation’s schools in their efforts to raise student achievement for 25 million students. These programs provide extra academic support to help students, particularly those in high-poverty schools, meet college and career-ready state academic standards, including through preschool programs for eligible children.
Student Support and Academic Enrichment: The agreement provides $1.170 billion, an increase of $70 million more than fiscal year 2018, for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program. The President’s Budget proposed eliminating this funding. This program provides flexible resources that states, LEAs, and schools can decide how to best use, consistent with the authorization for the program, to improve student outcomes.
21st Century Community Learning Centers: The agreement includes $1.220 billion, an increase of $10 million more than fiscal year 2018 and rejection of the elimination proposed in the President’s Budget, for grants to states to support academic and enrichment activities for students before school, after school, and during the summer.
Pell Grants: The agreement increases the Pell Grant maximum award by $100, to $6,195 when combined with mandatory funding, for roughly 8 million students from low and middle income families. The growth in the maximum award builds on the $175 increase provided in the fiscal year 2018 law.
TRIO: The agreement also provides $1.060 billion, an increase of $50 million more than fiscal year 2018, for TRIO, which includes programs like Upward Bound, Student Support Services and Talent Search which assist low-income, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities to progress academically from middle school through college graduation.
Career and Technical Education: The agreement provides $1.3 billion, an increase of $70 million more than fiscal year 2018, for Career and Technical Education State grants. This investment builds on the $75 million increase provided in fiscal year 2018. These funds help close the skills gap and provide students with the skills and credentials they need for 21st century careers through programs at secondary schools and postsecondary institutions.
Title IV—Related Agencies
Social Security Administration (SSA): The agreement provides $12.9 billion for SSA, which is $494 million more than the President’s request and represents a $40 million increase over fiscal year 2018 for SSA’s base administrative budget. After accounting for a one-time IT modernization investment, the fiscal year 2019 funding level includes a $275 million increase for general operations and an additional $45 million for IT modernization. The agreement also includes $100 million to continue to reduce the disability hearings backlog. SSA affects the lives of more than 50 million Americans receiving retirement and survivor benefits, as well as the millions applying for and receiving disability benefits.
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The agreement includes $1.083 billion for CNCS, an increase of $19 million over fiscal year 2018, to expand investments that help thousands of nonprofits, schools, faith-based groups, and local governments meet pressing local needs through service and social innovation. The bill rejects the Administration’s proposal to eliminate the agency. This funding will expand support for more than 345,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members serving in 50,000 locations, providing direct services and mobilizing millions of additional volunteers to solve problems, expand opportunity, and strengthen communities.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting: The agreement provides $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for fiscal year 2021, the same as fiscal year 2020 and a rejection of the President’s Budget proposal to terminate federal support for the Corporation. In addition, the bill contains $20 million for continued investments in CPB’s interconnection system and system wide infrastructure that benefits the American people.
Better Outcome Than The House Bill –
- Medical Research: Under the House proposal, funding for most research would not keep pace with inflation, slowing the pace of developing new treatments for diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases.
- The agreement rejects House proposals to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a $472 million cut to CMS program management funding and does not include House-proposed language restricting HHS’ authority to administer or enforce the ACA. The bill provides the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services with funding and program authorities that are consistent with those in fiscal year 2018, thereby protecting its ability to administer Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA.
- Women’s health and birth control: The bill provides funding at last year’s level for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention ($108 million) and Title X ($287 million) programs; both programs were eliminated in the House bill.
- The agreement provides $20 million for kinship navigator programs and $20 million for Regional Partnership Grants, which helps foster care prevention services qualify for reimbursement under the Family First Prevention Services Act; this funding was eliminated in the House bill.
- The agreement provides an increase of $200 million for Head Start, $150 million more than the House bill.
- The agreement includes $12.9 billion for Social Security’s administrative budget, $320 million more than the House bill.
- The agreement increases the Pell Grant maximum award by $100 while the House bill would provide no increase.
- The agreement provides $350 million to continue the discretionary relief fund for Public Service Loan Forgiveness created in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus. Both the House bill and President’s budget eliminated this funding. This initiative corrects a flaw in the mandatory Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that makes some borrowers, like teachers and other professionals working in public services, ineligible for forgiveness.
- The agreement includes $93.5 million, $8.5 million more than the House bill proposed to help homeless children and youth succeed in school. The number of homeless students reached 1.364 million in 2015-2016, up by 50% from the 2009-2010 school year
- While the President proposed to cut support for the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and the House proposal would hold it flat, the agreement provides $125 million, an increase of $8 million, to expand efforts to ensure students have access to a safe, discrimination-free education.
- The agreement rejects the elimination in the House bill and President’s Budget of $60 million in Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) grants that are part of U.S. efforts to enforce labor provisions of trade programs and agreements, and combat exploitative child labor around the world.
The House bill included poison pill policy riders that would have rolled back regulations to protect workers and access to health care, and legalized discrimination and the indefinite detention of children. The conference agreement eliminated all of these poison pill riders, including:
- Child Welfare Services Discrimination: This rider would allow taxpayer-funded child welfare service providers, including adoption and foster care agencies, to discriminate based on sexual orientation, religion and marital status.
- Joint Employer: This rider would prevent the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from enforcing its own joint employer standard, which enables workers to hold accountable employers that control the terms and conditions of their jobs.
- Tribal Sovereignty: This rider would prohibit enforcement of the National Labor Relations Act in tribally owned businesses on Indian lands, preventing the NLRB from using its current test that balances tribal sovereignty and the right of workers to organize.
- Planned Parenthood: The House bill proposed to make Planned Parenthood ineligible for federal funding it uses to provide reproductive health care at hundreds of locations around the country.
- Family Detention/Flores Settlement: This rider would eliminate protections for migrant children, allowing them to be held indefinitely in unlicensed family detention centers.
# # # # #
Next Article Previous Article