Funding for the current fiscal year expires on March 23. It is not expected to be a problem as that short term CR was designed to allow appropriators to allocate funding provided under the February 9, 2018 budget deal (PL 115-123). That deal agreed to raise the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) caps for both FY 2018 and FY 2019.

For FY’18 which ends on September 30, caps on “non-defense” spending caps were raised by approximately $60 billion which means there is about $50 billion when matched against what was permitted in 2017. That $50 billion in“non-defense” includes the State Department, military construction and some veterans programs. Despite that it should allow for some increased spending, possibly child welfare. Part of that funding is designated for child care spending, $2.9 billion in appropriations funding that will double current child care funding (CCDBG) and another $3 billion was agreed to address opioids.

CWLA and other child welfare advocates are looking for increased funding under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) for the development and implementation of plans of safe care that are mandated under that law. Plans that are to address the needs of children exposed to substances. Advocates are also seeking funding for support programs that could assist states in expanding services that may be available under the services part of the new Families First Act. The letter can be read here.

CWLA is also working with the adoption community to address a shortfall in the adoption-kinship incentive fund. Last year states earned $55 million in adoption and kinship incentives ($47 million was for adoptions), but HHS only had $5 million leftover to fulfill the 2016-based awards with FY2017 appropriations. States are still owed $50 million for last year’s 2017 results. In the last several budgets, appropriations has been the same $38 million. That would mean that when the FY 2018 awards are announced in late September there will be less than zero funds available, unless appropriators make it up with the final 2018 appropriations.

Congress needs to make up $50 million for FY 2017 as well as fund potential awards to be announced in September of this year.

In regard to overall appropriations, staff has been working over the last week to try and allocate the additional funding between the various subcommittees. These “302 (b)” allocations allow subcommittees to divide up their portion of the spending increases. To date those have not been made public but staff have been in intense negotiations within and across the chambers during this past week.

The $3 billion to address opioids includes money for enforcement, prevention as well as treatment needs. It’s likely the public will get a look at some of the appropriations decisions this week.

After finishing FY 2018 work Congress needs to turn to 2019. The February 9, deal also set caps for FY 2019. For non-defense spending there will be an additional $20 billion increase over 2018. So the increases will not be as significant. The deal on child care and opioids means that the increase in 2018 ($2.9 billion and $3 billion, respectively) will carry over in 2019 at the same level.

It seems certain that there will not be a joint congressional budget resolution this year. Instead what is likely to happen is the House of Representatives will attempt their own budget resolution. That resolution would propose a reconciliation instruction to cut a number of entitlements including SSBG, SNAP, and Medicaid and impose politically-pleasing “work requirements.”

Many observers are skeptical that the House Budget Committee will be able to get such a resolution out of Committee. That is because conservatives don’t like the February spending caps and House Republican budget proposals will not attract any support from Democrats.

Instead what is likely to happen is that both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees will act without a resolution with spending allocated at different House and Senate spending levels between the various 12 subcommittees. That means no cross-house negotiations and a short term CR starting on October 1, 2018.

In short it seems likely that what is agreed to on March 23, for 2018, will be spending levels that will carry over into the start of FY 2019. Corrections, adjustments and increases will not happen until after this November‘s election. Ultimately those decisions will be decide by that election’s results.

Details on the President’s February 12, FY 2019 budget can be viewed below:

For a CWLA summary of key programs go here.
For a CWLA chart of spending go here.