Operating under budget caps and an allocation $3 billion below 2014 funding, on Wednesday, June 17 the House Appropriations Subcommittee approved a funding bill for 2016. The bill is still in draft form until the full report is prepared for full committee deliberation.
The House draft avoids some of the controversial cuts of the recent past although it’s still de-funds programs to carry out the Affordable Care Act. The subcommittee is using a strategy that was used in the late 90’s when the committee selected certain popular programs for increases while cutting Administration priorities.
The losers, in addition to the ACA, include elimination of all funding for family planning, no increase in child care and some education and labor program cuts or eliminations. The Subcommittee did accept the President’s budget request for an increase for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), added more for the National Institutes for Health (NIH) (increasing by $1.1 billion which is a $100 million more than the President’s budget increase), and added increases for substance abuse funding to $3.6 billion ($21 million below the President’s budget increase but an increase). Much of the drug treatment increase is intended to deal with the rising heroin and prescription drug abuse.
Within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) budget, Head Start receives a small increase to $8.8 billion. That splits out as a $192 million increase with $150 million for Early Head Start expansion and the remaining $42 million for a cost-of-living adjustment. There is no increase in child care funding despite last year’s child care reauthorization law which requires expanded eligibility in some circumstances and increased state inspection requirements, provisions that are understood to cost more to implement. In addition to various cuts in presidential priorities, the bill includes several riders that will draw a veto threat. The bill would restrict the Department of Education from implementing new regulations and oversight of college student loans, in addition the bill includes riders/restrictions in regard to labor and on abortion. The bill now awaits a full committee mark-up.
As of last week the House had sent six appropriations bills to the Senate: Commerce-State-Justice (HR 2578), Energy and Water (HR 2028), Legislative Branch (HR 2250), Military Construction (HR 2029), Transportation Housing and Urban Development (HR 2577) and Defense. There are twelve appropriations bills that fund the government along with an annual defense reauthorization.