When Congress left with a two-year budget deal for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 it looked like they would be able to finish most of the FY 2020 appropriations in September with perhaps a few weeks of a continuing resolution (CR) to finish up. That possibility crashed last Tuesday shortly after Senate Republican unveiled their Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill in a Subcommittee hearing. The Senate leaders had planned to vote through 4 bills (Labor-HHS, Defense, State Department, and Energy) and then combine them for a floor vote. That fell apart in part because of the President’s reallocation of appropriated funds for a down-payment on a border wall.

On Thursday, Senate Republicans revealed how they will split up FY 2020 funding between the 12 appropriations and it is vastly different than what House democrats had designated, especially for Labor-HH-Education. Under the August budget deal, there would have to be a reduction from what the House had approved but that challenge became even greater when the Senate Committee on Appropriations voted along party line for all 12 FY 2020 appropriations bills.

The House of Representatives is expected to pass a CR that will fund the government starting on October 1, with a likely extension to November 22, 2019. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated the Senate will approve the CR.

That debate last fiscal year caused a partial government shutdown late last and early this year. The budget deal does not speak to one of the President’s priorities, building a wall along the Mexican border. He in fact aggravated many House and Senate Democrats over the August break when the Administration outlined taking $3.6 billion from the Military Construction appropriations and spending it on wall repairs and expansions. The Military Construction Appropriations is one of the 12 appropriations bills approved each year. It designates (separate from the Defense Department Appropriations) various military projects from schools on military bases for US families, to barracks to other security measures. The courts have given the Administration the go-ahead with the change in appropriations while the courts review the constitutionality of the President’s actions. All of this adds to the challenges of how Congress will implement this summer’s budget deal.

CWLA will be 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 an 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. The big winners under ACF are child care and Head Start. Child care is increased by $2.4 billion to $7.6 billion. A number of other child and child welfare programs increased with Runaway and Homeless Youth increasing to $125 million from $102 million, Adoption Opportunities increased by $3 million to $42 million, the 21st Century Learning Centers increased to $1.3 billion –a $100 million increase and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth Education program increased by $7 million to $100 million. CWLA will be placing its highest priority on CAPTA and Adoption Incentive.

About the Author:

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

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