In June the House and Senate Appropriations Committees passed FY 2016 bills under the current spending caps.
The House bill avoided some of the controversial cuts of the recent past but not all. It de-funds programs to carry out the Affordable Care Act and eliminates funding for Title X family planning, eliminates some 20 Department of Education programs and reduces that department’s budget by $2.8 billion. The Committee did find some funding increases for popular programs following 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) (an increase of $1.1 billion which is a $100 million more than the President’s budget), and added increases for substance abuse funding to $3.6 billion (although $21 million below the President’s budget). Much of that 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 very small increase to $8.8 billion. That splits out a $192 million increase with $150 million for Early Head Start and the remaining $42 million for a cost-of-living adjustment. There is no increase in child care funding despite the fact that the new child care reauthorization law requires expanded eligibility and inspection requirements, provisions that are understood to cost more to implement. In terms of child welfare spending all programs are flat funded. This includes Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) state grants ($25.3 million), discretionary grants ($28.7 million), Child Welfare Services ($268 million), Promoting Safe and Stable Families ($59 million in discretionary) , Adoption Opportunities ($39 million) and the Adoption and Kinship Incentive funds ($37 million), Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention ($39.7 million) and Runaway and Homeless Youth $97 million)–all funded at the same as FY 2015.
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 loans; in addition the bill also has riders/restrictions in regard to labor and on abortion.
On the Senate side, overall spending was set at $153.2 billion which is $3.6 billion below current levels and approximately $14 billion below the Administration’s budget request. It was approved on a 16-14 vote partisan vote. The legislation differs from the House bill in slight ways. It too increases NIH funding but by a larger total of $2 billion. It also, like the House, increases funding to address opioid abuse by increasing substance abuse funding by $35 million. Like the House they defund the ACA, they cut Education (-$1.7 billion) but they do increase IDEA part B and C by $125 million. The Senate unlike the House does provide a modest increase for child care funding by $150 million which is envisioned as a start to help implement the expanded requirements under last year’s reauthorization. The Senate provides a smaller increase for Head Start at $100 million. Child welfare programs are also held at this year’s levels although they do allocate $2 million for a study and survey of homeless youth but the Senate bill eliminates all $11 million for the Abandoned Infants program pending a new reauthorization (it is reauthorized along with CAPTA).
If a new deal is eventually agreed to allowing increases for Labor-HHS these two bills would serve as blueprints. Any final deal would have to protect the ACA and Planned Parenthood because presumably the President would never sign such legislation.