Shortly before Thanksgiving, the House and Senate passed a second continuing resolution that extended FY 2020 funding until December 20, 2019. Quickly after that, Senator Richard Shelby (D-AL) and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) as respective chairs of the two appropriations committees agreed to spending allocations between the 12 appropriations bills. Since then, committees have been attempting to negotiate the final numbers, but progress is unclear. There appears to be a self-imposed deadline of this weekend so we may see something by today or there may be a clear indication of further delay for this year.
How funding is divided is not clear, but there are two primary challenges. The House had adopted spending level that was much higher than the final agreement reached between the House and Senate in the late summer. As a result, many of the increases in the House-passed appropriations, especially Labor-HHS-Education, will be reduced. The more complex challenge is the President’s demand for $5 billion in new funding for the wall between Mexico and the United States. Even if Democrats in the House and Senate were to agree to more wall funding, they would have to find somewhere to cut spending. That would likely come out of the non-defense side of the spending allocation. In addition there are additional controversies of language regarding family planning, gun violence research and other issues where there is a division between the parties.
The Senate marker for the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations is legislation they released on September 18 that was never voted out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Senate bill provides virtually no increases for child care, Head Start, CAPTA state grants, CB-CAP child abuse prevention funds, and many other vital human services.
CWLA has been focusing on key funding increases in the House FY 2020 Labor-HHS appropriations. CAPTA state grants receive an increase to $90 million (a $5 million increase) and a historic $35 million increase for the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) to $75 million. The bill maintains the Adoption-Kinship Incentive fund at $75 million to cover the anticipated incentives.
It is not clear what the President will sign: another CR, a partial bill that funds part of the government or nothing at all if it does not include the $5 billion for the wall.