The Administration released its FY 2021 budget on Monday, February 10, 2020. This year’s budget, A Budget for America’s Future, proposes a number of human service cuts and human service funding increases but overall includes reductions in non-defense spending despite last year’s budget agreement.

The President’s FY 2021 budget should be based on last summer’s new spending targets. Non-defense spending can go up to $635 billion for FY 2021. That total is a small increase of $3 billion compared to an increase of approximately $26 billion last year. Defense spending will increase by $3 billion to $741 billion compared to last year’s increase of approximately $22 billion.

Within child welfare, the budget includes some significant changes to the recently-enacted Family First Prevention Services Act. At the same time, it continues a number of substantial cuts to human services with the elimination of Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), and within the education budget, a number of programs get rolled into broad block grants including the elimination of funding for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth program and the 21st Century Learning Centers program.

While members from both parties will treat the budget “dead-on-arrival” it sets a framework for much of the appropriations debate over the next six to eight months. A CWLA budget chart is here with a summary found here.

There appears to be an unofficial consensus that there will be a continuing resolution for all spending when the October 1, fiscal year starts to push decisions to either a re-elected administration or a new president. The House will likely begin their first appropriations actions in March with the Senate following shortly after that, but initial action on some of the 12 appropriations will probably freeze in place in late summer or early fall.

Within the various human service categories, the President’s budget includes the following cuts:

 Elimination of the Social Services Block Grant—SSBG) (HHS)
 Elimination of the 21st Century Afterschool Learning Centers (Education)
 Elimination of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program—LIHEAP (HHS)
 Elimination of the Community Services Block Grant (HHS)
 Elimination of the Community Development Block Grant—CDBG (Housing)
 Cuts to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) of $1.5 billion to the base grant of $16.5 billion and elimination of the $608 million contingency fund (HHS)
 Cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—SNAP-food stamps (Agriculture)
 Cuts to Medicaid through waivers and other reimbursement changes

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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