Congress left with a two-year budget deal for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 and now they will need to finish the FY 2020 appropriations. The House of Representatives has passed almost all of their 12 appropriations bills while the Senate has not acted on any. Everyone is expecting a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government starting on October 1, with speculation it could run up to the December holidays. To that end, House leaders were indicating that they may act on a CR as soon as this week.
The respective Senate appropriations subcommittees will start to vote on appropriations on Tuesday on Defense appropriations at 10:00 AM and an 11:30 vote on a Labor-HHS-Education same day.
The Senate may combine the Defense Department and Labor-HHS-Education bills with a possible third bill similar to last year. That would mean, once again that Congress could pass funding for more than 75 percent of the budget but that also means that the remaining less than 25 percent will include the Homeland Security Department unfunded. That debate last fiscal year caused a partial government shutdown in the fall of 2018 and winter of this year. The budget deal does not speak to one of the President’s favorite priorities, building a wall along the Mexican border.
There have been past reports that in order to fund the wall, the Senate bill will cut billions from the allocation the House set for Labor-HHS-Education. There will be a need to reduce the allocation for that bill simply because the House passed their ten appropriations based on a higher level of spending than what was agreed to in the July budget deal. A further cut to fund the wall the President wants could cause a cut of nearly $5 billion from the $8 billion increase that was used by House appropriators.
Of course all this comes against a backdrop of the Administration already telling Congress just last week on how they will cut over $3 billion in funds from military construction to fund part of the wall. There could also be more landmines. In August the Administration suggested they may seek cuts in foreign aid, but they backed off when Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) indicated that could cause budget problems. The President’s actions and a Senate bill written just by Republicans could all lead to a confrontation and a shutdown late this year.
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