Children's Monitor Online
A Public Policy Update from the Child Welfare League of America

   
   
Vol. 18, Issue 26: 7/11/2005   
Headlines

Appropriations Decisions Move to Senate

Congress Has Big Work Schedule Before Summer Break

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



Appropriations Decisions Move to Senate

The U.S. House of Representatives met its goal of approving all 11 FY 2006 appropriations bills by Congress's Independence Day recess. When Congress returns July 11, attention will turn to the Senate to begin consideration of its appropriations bills.

The House-passed appropriations bills that provide funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mirrors the recommendations of the President to fund key child welfare programs, including Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), at current levels. PSSF would be funded at $404 million, whereas CAPTA state grants would be funded at $27 million. Child Care funding actually would be reduced by $11,000 and remain at just under $2.1 billion, whereas Head Start would receive a modest increase of $55 million and be funded at $6.9 billion. In both cases, fewer children would be able to receive Child Care and Head Start services next year due to inflation.

The Senate subcommittee that decides on funding for HHS will vote on its bill on July 12, with the full Senate Appropriations Committee set to vote on July 14. Senate decisions are not expected to be vastly different from the House-passed bill. For more information about funding decisions for key children programs, go to www.cwla.org/advocacy/budget.htm.

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Congress Has Big Work Schedule Before Summer Break

July represents one of the shortest work sessions for Congress this year, as it is set to start the month-long summer break in three weeks. The Senate still has to act on most of its 12 appropriations bills. In addition to the FY 2006 budget, the House and Senate are negotiating differences over energy legislation, a reauthorization of highway funds, and a final resolution on the Central American Free Trade Agreement. There is also discussion by House Republican leaders to vote on a Social Security reform package.

Both the House and Senate will break for August and not return until after Labor Day, on September 6, when they will be racing against the start of the new fiscal year that begins October 1. When members return in September, they will have to deal not just with final appropriations, but a budget reconciliation bill to cut mandatory programs by $35 billion and a second reconciliation bill to cut taxes by $70 billion.

It is possible the first reconciliation bill may contain not just a TANF and Child Care reauthorization, but it may also include efforts to create an optional foster care block grant. That legislation could include a number of controversial proposals and budget cuts. Combined with the annual appropriations debate, September may become the most significant month this year for advocates as they seek to protect funding and programs in what has been a tight budget year for human service programs.

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Key Upcoming Dates for Congress


July 12: Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee marks up appropriations bill

July 14: Senate Appropriations Committee marks up Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill

July 30-September 5: Summer Congressional recess

September 16: Deadline for assigned committees to adopt $35 billion in cuts to mandatory programs for budget reconciliation bill

September 23: Deadline for tax-writing committees to adopt tax cuts of $70 billion

October 1: Start of Federal Fiscal Year


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