SUMMARY: FY2019 Labor, HHS, & Education Appropriations Bill Gains Subcommittee Approval

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 $181.2 billion in discretionary budget authority - $2.2 billion more than the fiscal year 2018 level and $11.9 billion more than the budget request.  The total funding includes $179.3 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 bill provides additional resources for biomedical research at NIH, child care, college affordability, Social Security, and addressing the opioids epidemic.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, said:

“This bipartisan compromise is the result of hard work, negotiation, some tough choices, and a commitment to working together to write the best bill possible. It’s not what either side would have written on our own, but like we did just a few months ago, I am very proud that so many of us worked together to push aside President Trump’s partisan poison pills, as well as his request for massive cuts that would be devastating for families and communities. And I am so proud that, once again, this bill includes real investments in students, children, workers, families…serious new commitments to health care, research and innovation, lifesaving cures, access to higher education, and economic growth…and continued commitments to the major new steps we took just a few months ago to invest in child care early learning and care, tackling the opioid epidemic, and more. And I’m pleased the bill increases the resources for communities to tackle some of the toughest challenges we face, impacting those who too often get left behind, including increased education funding for homeless youth and disadvantaged schools; more money for mental health services; more resources to enforce civil rights laws, and more.”

Key Points & Highlights

The committee rejects the Administration’s proposed reductions of $11.9 billion to programs under its jurisdiction. In addition to including a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health and a $50 million initiative to address the rising rates of maternal mortality, the bill includes new investments in apprenticeships, public and mental health, preparedness, education, and Social Security. Within the Department of Education, the bill includes additional investments across a wide swath of activities, ranging from Title I-A grants to Special Education and Academic Enrichment Grants. It also includes increased funding for Minority-Serving Higher Education Institutions and Special Institutions for Persons with Disabilities, and increases the maximum Pell award by $100. When combined with mandatory Pell funding, this increase will lead to a new maximum level of $6,195.


  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Grants to States. The bill includes $2.8 billion for the WIOA formula grants, level with fiscal year 2018, to support our national workforce system and help approximately 20 million people each year look for work, train for in-demand careers, and connect with local employers ready to hire. The committee rejects the Administration’s proposal to cut these grants by $80 million.
  • Apprenticeship Grants.  The bill includes $160 million for registered apprenticeship grants, an increase of $15 million over fiscal year 2018, to expand support for the apprenticeship program that the Committees on Appropriations created in fiscal year 2016.  The committee rejects the President’s proposal to create a duplicative non-registered apprenticeship program that would open the door for any unqualified employer to develop a low wage, lower quality program and call it a registered apprenticeship.
  • Veterans Employment and Training Services.  The bill 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.
  • Job Corps.  The bill includes $1.72 billion for Job Corps, $15 million more than fiscal year 2018, to expand support for the Nation's largest and most comprehensive residential education and job training program for at-risk youth, ages 16 through 24. The committee rejects the Administration’s proposal to cut the program by $422 million, or 25 percent.
  • Wage and Hour Division (WHD).  The bill provides $229 million, an increase of $1.5 million more than the fiscal year 2018 Omnibus, for the Wage and Hour Division.  The Wage and Hour Division enforces important federal labor laws, including those covering the minimum wage and overtime for 135 million workers nationwide.  A focus of the WHD is ensuring a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work by investigating employer violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and collecting back pay owed to workers.  Last year, WHD recovered more than $270 million for roughly 240,000 workers. 
  • Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB).  The committee rejects President Trump’s proposal to slash the budget of this critical agency and provides the current level of $86 million to help ensure that our trading partners around the world respect workers’ rights and workers in the United States are competing on a level playing field.  These funds will enable ILAB to monitor and enforce labor provisions in the nation’s trade agreements, and support additional grant assistance to address worker rights issues and combat exploitative child labor around the world.


  • Maternal Mortality. More women in the U.S. die from pregnancy-related complications than in any other developed nation, and the U.S. is the only developed country where the rate of these deaths has been has been rising. Analysis of maternal mortality review committee data indicates that over 60 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. In response, the bill includes $50 million in HRSA and CDC for a new initiative aimed at reducing maternal mortality.  This consists of: $12 million to CDC to expand data collection and surveillance at State Maternal Mortality Review Boards; and $38 million to HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau to expand evidence-based programs to prevent maternal mortality and advance maternal health equity, such as the Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health and Healthy Start to improve systems of maternity care, including both clinical and public health systems.
  • Community Health Centers (CHCs). The program total for CHCs for fiscal year 2019 is $5.63 billion, an increase of $200 million, to expand funding for the largest safety net systems of primary and preventive care in the country. This includes $1.63 billion in discretionary funding and the $4 billion in mandatory funding from the program’s reauthorization included in the recent budget deal. The bill directs HRSA to spend no less than $200 million to expand services related to the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and to expand mental health services.
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The bill does not include new language restricting HHS’ authority to administer or enforce the ACA.  The bill provides the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 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. 
  • Title X Family Planning & Teen Pregnancy Prevention:  The bill preserves full funding for two key women’s health programs. It provides $286.5 million for the Title X program and $108 million for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, both level with fiscal year 2018. The House bill proposed to eliminate both programs, and it included a poison pill rider to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funding, which is not included in the Senate bill.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The committee rejects the administration proposal to cut CDC by $2.4 billion, or 30 percent, and provides $7.9 billion for the agency’s core public health programs.  The committee rejects the proposed cuts to immunization and chronic disease prevention programs, while providing an increase of $12 million for maternal mortality surveillance, $10 million for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement and $10 million for continuation of the Zika pregnancy study, previously funded out of the fiscal year 2016 Zika Supplemental. 
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The bill provides $39.1 billion for NIH, an increase of $2 billion from last year’s level and $4.5 billion above the President’s budget.  The increase includes an additional $425 million for Alzheimer’s disease research for a total of $2.34 billion.  It also includes increases of $29 million for the BRAIN Initiative and $37 million for research to combat antimicrobial resistance.  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.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The bill provides $5.7 billion to SAMHSA, which is $579 million more than the fiscal year 2018 level.  This includes $1.5 billion, an increase of $500 million, for State Opioid Response Grants. The bill also provides an increase of $50 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and $25 million for the Mental Health Block Grant.
  • Assistant Secretary for Planning and Response (ASPR):  The bill provides $2.05 billion, an increase of $93 million from last year’s level, for ASPR, which leads the Department’s public health preparedness and emergency response efforts.  This includes increases of:  $35 million for pandemic flu preparedness; $25 million for advanced research development of medical countermeasures; $25 million for Project BioShield; and $8 million for cybersecurity. 
  • Healthcare Workforce and the Opioid Epidemic: As part of the targeted funding to address the opioid epidemic, the bill continues to include $105 million for the National Health Service Corps and it expands loan repayment eligibility requirements to include substance use disorder counselors, which will support recruitment and retention of health professionals needed in underserved areas. The bill also continues $75 million for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program, $37 million for the Mental and Behavioral Health training program, and $15 million for the Rural Residency Development program.
  • Rural Communities Opioid Response. The bill includes $120 million to address substance abuse, including opioid abuse, and the overdose crisis in all rural communities nationwide. Within the funding provided, the bill includes $20 million for the establishment of rural centers of excellence on substance use disorders to support the dissemination of best practices related to the treatment for and prevention of substance use disorders within rural communities. The centers will focus on the current opioid crisis and developing methods to address future substance use disorder epidemics. This funding, in addition to the $100 million provided last year, will continue efforts to allow communities to develop plans to address local needs.
  • Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME).   The bill includes $325 million for CHGME, $10 million more than fiscal year 2018.  This funding supports freestanding children’s hospitals’ training of resident physicians, research capabilities, and care for vulnerable and underserved children.
  • Early Care and Education. The bill provides $5.23 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), maintaining the historic $2.37 billion increase provided for the program in fiscal year 2018.  The bill also provides an increase of $250 million for Head Start, which includes a full cost-of-living adjustment for grantees and $40 million to help programs continue to expand their hours of operation.  The bill maintains level funding of $250 million for Preschool Development Grants, despite their proposed elimination in the President’s budget.
  • Community Services. The committee rejects the President’s proposal to eliminate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and programs under the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Act.  The bill provides $3.69 billion for LIHEAP, $50 million more than the fiscal year 2018 level, to provide critical heating and cooling assistance to more low-income households. The bill provides $725 million for the Community Services Block Grant, $10 million more than the fiscal year 2018 level, to help support community action agencies and other local community-based organizations working to alleviate poverty.

Office of Refugee Resettlement. The bill provides $1.3 billion for the Unaccompanied Children (UAC) program, the same level as fiscal year 2018 and $55 million more than the President’s budget request.  The Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy resulted in the separation of family units at the border and significantly increased the number of children referred to the UAC program.  The report language that accompanies the bill directs HHS to provide updated cost estimates for the program, and additional information on the children in their care and its process for monitoring UAC shelters in order to ensure every child is appropriately cared for.

The bill provides $354 million for the Transitional and Medical Services program, which would allow HHS to continue to provide eight months of cash and medical assistance at the projected number of eligible arrivals, and to sustain the matching grant program.  The bill provides $207 million for Refugee Social Services, rejecting the President’s request to cut those programs by $46 million, or 22%.  The bill provides an increase of $3 million to the Victims of Trafficking program and $3 million to the Victims of Torture program, to provide increased support for organizations serving these vulnerable populations.


  • Supporting Elementary and Secondary Education.  The bill protects key investments needed to support the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the bipartisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  The bill includes:
  • No language or funding is included for the President’s unauthorized $1 billion Opportunity Grants proposal.  Similar to proposals rejected last year by Congress, the budget proposed to spend $1 billion ona  program supporting private school vouchers and other policies not authorized by ESSA.  
  • $15.885 billion, $125 million more than last year, for Title I-A grants to local educational agencies (LEAs).  The Title I-A program assists half of the nation’s schools in their efforts to raise student achievement for the almost 24 million students served by such programs.  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.  The President’s budget proposes $15.460 billion for this program. 
  • $12.4 billion, an increase of $125 million more than last year, for Special Education State Grants under Part B of IDEA.  These funds support efforts to raise achievement and outcomes for 7 million students with disabilities, costs that are required to be paid by state and local taxpayers when federal funds are not available.  The President’s budget proposes just $12 billion for this program. 
  • $1.225 billion, an increase of $125 million more than last year, for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program.  This formula grant program provides flexible funding to school districts for use on school safety efforts, including hiring school counselors; supporting a well-rounded education; and investing in education technology.  For the second year in a row, the President’s budget eliminates the program.  
  • $95 million, an increase of $5 million more than last year, for School Safety National Activities.  These funds may be used to improve school climates and behavioral outcomes for students, support school responses to the opioid epidemic and help education institutions prepare for and respond to violent and other traumatic events.   The President’s budget proposes $43 million for these activities. 
  • $93.5 million, an increase of $8.5 million, for Education for Homeless Children and Youth grants for services to homeless children that help them enroll and succeed in school.  The most recent count of the homeless student population enrolled in public schools totaled 1.3 million in the 2015-16 school year, up from 910,439 in 2009-10.  This bill provides the program with an increase of 10 percent for the third year in a row. 
  • College Access and Affordability:  The bill builds on fiscal year 2018 investments made possible by the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2018 by maintaining or increasing a range of programs that help students prepare for, succeed in and pay for college.  These include:
    • $22.5 billion in discretionary spending for Pell Grants in fiscal year 2019, and an increase in the maximum award by $100, when combined with mandatory Pell funding will lead to a new level of $6,195.  The bill also rescinds $600 million in prior year appropriations not currently needed for the program.  The maximum award increase builds on the $175 increase provided in the fiscal year 2018 Omnibus and reinstatement of year-round or summer Pell grants in fiscal year 2017 that will help make college more affordable for roughly eight million Pell recipients.   
    • $350 million to continue the discretionary relief fund for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) created in the fiscal year 2018 Omnibus.  This initiative corrects a flaw in the mandatory Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that has caused teachers and other public servants to be ineligible for forgiveness even though they were the intended beneficiaries of PSLF.  The President’s budget eliminates this funding.  
    • $840 million for the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, preserving the $107 million provided in fiscal year 2018 and rejecting the elimination proposed in the President’s budget.  These funds provide additional grant aid to 1.6 million undergraduate students, 70 percent of who had family incomes less than 30 percent.  The bill also rejects the 56 percent cut to the Federal Work Study program proposed in the President’s budget, maintaining the current funding level of $1.030 billion for the more than 600,000 undergraduate and graduate students who receive financial assistance through the program.
  • The bill provides $675 million, an increase of $15 million more than last year, for Minority Serving Institution (MSI) programs authorized under Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act.  The committee rejects the consolidation proposed in the budget for some of these MSI programs, including Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions, Predominantly Black Institutions, and Strengthening Alaskan native and Native-Hawaiian Serving Institutions, the $35 million proposed reduction in funding for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities program, and the proposed elimination of $99 million for the Title III-A Strengthening Institutions Program, which funds a large number of community colleges with a high percentage of underrepresented students. 
  • Office for Civil Rights (OCR).  The bill provides $125 million, an increase of $8 million more than last year, for the Department of Education’s OCR.  These funds are provided to increase staffing levels for timely and effectively investigation of complaints, monitor implementation of corrective actions of education institutions, and allow for timely and accurate reporting of the important civil rights data collection.  The President’s budget provides just $107 million for OCR. 


  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).  The bill provides $445 million, the same as the current level for CPB, to support a healthy and vibrant network of public media stations across the country, rejecting the President’s budget proposal to end this investment.  The federal appropriation supports more than 1,400 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations that serve almost 99 percent of the American population living in rural and urban communities across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.  In addition, the bill contains $20 million for continued investments in CPB’s interconnection system and system wide infrastructure that benefits the American people. 
  • The bill protects the Corporation for National and Community Service funding with $1 billion, or a 1 percent reduction, and rejects the Administration’s proposal to eliminate the agency. The bill reduces the payments to the National Service Trust by $9 million, a 5 percent reduction, as a one-time adjustment that reflects CNCS’ lower needs estimate given carryover balances from previous fiscal years. The Committee recommendation includes $415 million for AmeriCorps State and National Grants, an increase of $3 million over fiscal year 2018.
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  The bill maintains the current funding level of $274 million for the NLRB, which is charged with protecting workplace rights by enforcing the National Labor Relations Act.  The bill is free of language that might restrict or interfere with the Board’s activities.
  • Social Security Administration (SSA). The bill provides $12.95 billion for Social Security’s administrative budget, including an increase of $115 million in SSA’s base operations budget.  Accounting for some one-time funding provided in fiscal year 2018, this increase will help SSA continue to improve service to the public and focus on critical workloads.  The bill includes $100 million, the same level as fiscal year 2018, in designated funding to help reduce the disability hearings backlog, and provides an additional $85 million towards the agency’s IT modernization initiative.
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).   This bill includes $242 million, an increase of $2 million, and once again rejects the President’s proposed elimination of the IMLS.