Appropriations Committee Releases the Fiscal Year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services Funding Bill
Legislation will rein in damaging regulatory overreach, roll back harmful ObamaCare provisions, cut wasteful spending, and target investments to proven national programs
June 16, 2015 -
The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation includes funding for programs within the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and other related agencies.
In total, the draft bill includes $153 billion in discretionary funding, which is a reduction of $3.7 billion below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $14.6 billion below the President’s budget request. Funding within the bill is targeted to proven programs with the most national benefit, including medical research, public health, and biodefense, as well as activities to ensure Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid services are efficient, effective, and accountable to those Americans they serve. While making these important investments, the bill reduces funding in lower-priority areas, and cuts ineffective or wasteful programs and agencies.
The legislation also contains several policy provisions to improve government oversight, protect the rights of all Americans, and bolster economic growth. These provisions will rein in unnecessary regulatory overreach that ties the hands of employers and undermines job creation, maintain longstanding life policies and constitutional protections, and ensure that taxpayer dollars are being appropriately spent. In addition, the legislation defunds existing ObamaCare programs and prohibits any new discretionary funding from being used to further implement ObamaCare.
“This legislation continues our efforts to reduce wasteful spending, to stop harmful and unnecessary regulations that kill jobs and impede economic growth, and to make wise investments in proven programs on behalf of the American taxpayer,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This bill fulfills these goals, funding cutting-edge medical research, education for disabled children, veterans’ programs, community health centers, Meals on Wheels, and charter schools. At the same time, the bill reflects careful consideration of every program, cutting the fat and making the most of every dollar.”
“This is a fiscally responsible bill that reduces discretionary spending by nearly $4 billion. At the same time, by carefully reprioritizing where taxpayer dollars are spent, the bill increases funding for important programs that benefit the American people. Specifically, funding is targeted to the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, special education, Head Start, and a number of programs aimed at helping Native American youth. And through the inclusion of several important policy provisions, we have taken steps to rein in the excessive overreach of the Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board,” LHHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole said. “This bill reflects the values and priorities of the American taxpayer, setting us on a path that will reduce the deficit while funding programs that make meaningful differences in the lives of Americans.”
Defunding ObamaCare – The legislation contains several provisions to stop the implementation of ObamaCare – including rescinding prior-year mandatory funds and prohibiting the use of any new discretionary funding to implement ObamaCare.
Protecting Life – The bill contains several provisions to protect life, including continuations of all longstanding restrictions on abortion funding that have been included in the legislation in prior years. The legislation also includes the text of the “Health Care Conscience Rights Act.”
Department of Labor (DoL) – The bill provides a total of $11.7 billion for DoL – $206 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $1.4 billion below the President’s request.
- Employment Training Administration (ETA) – The legislation provides the ETA with $9.5 billion – a decrease of $196 million (2 percent) below last year’s level and $1 billion (9.8 percent) below the President’s request. State and local workforce training and development programs are prioritized and maintained at fiscal year 2015 enacted levels. The bill also provides responsible, adequate funding for labor enforcement and benefit protection agencies to fulfill their core missions.
- Job Corps – The bill provides $1.7 billion for Job Corps, which is the same as the fiscal year 2015 level. This program helps unemployed young Americans receive education, job training, and employment assistance.
- Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) – The bill provides $271 million for VETS, which is $1.1 million above the fiscal year 2015 level and the same as the President’s request.
- Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) – MSHA is funded at $371 million in the legislation, $4.9 million below the fiscal year 2015 level and $23.9 million below the budget request.
- Reducing Harmful Red Tape – The legislation includes several provisions designed to help U.S. businesses create jobs and grow the economy by reducing or eliminating overly burdensome government regulations. Some of these include:
- A provision providing flexibility in the H-2B program;
- A provision prohibiting regulatory changes to the definition of the term “Fiduciary”;
- A provision restricting the interpretation of laws and regulations governing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “walkaround” inspections.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – The bill includes a total of $71.3 billion for HHS, an increase of $298 million above last year’s level and $3.9 billion below the President’s budget request. The legislation targets funds to proven programs with the most national benefit, while reducing spending in lower-priority areas. Within this amount, the bill includes:
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) The bill includes over $6 billion for HRSA – $299 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $413 million below the President’s budget request. The bill eliminates all funding for the controversial Family Planning Program, saving taxpayers nearly $300 million.
Within the total, the bill provides nearly $1.5 billion for Community Health Centers, which is the same as the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and the request. The bill also provides $265 million for the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program – equal to the fiscal year 2015 enacted level, and $165 million more than the request. Additionally, the legislation includes $102 million for the Healthy Start program – the same as the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and the budget request.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – The legislation includes a total of $7 billion for the CDC – $140 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and equal to the budget request. This includes $6.1 billion in appropriated funds, as well as $914.3 million in transfers from the Prevention and Public Health (PPH) Fund.
Within this total, the bill provides $70 million – $50 million above the fiscal year 2015 level and $2 million above the budget request – to expand efforts to combat prescription drug abuse. The bill also increases funding for CDC’s Public Health Preparedness and Response by $108 million over last year’s level – providing a total of $1.56 billion – to ensure that the Strategic National Stockpile and State and Local Preparedness capacity is adequate. These programs provide supplies and response efforts in the event of a bioterror attack or pandemic disease emergency.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The bill provides a total $31.2 billion for the NIH, $1.1 billion above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $100 million above the President’s budget request.
Within this funding, the legislation includes $165 million to support activities for the National Children’s Study, $480.6 million for Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards, and $311.8 million for Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) programs.
The bill also provides increases for several targeted research initiatives, including $886 million, a $300 million increase, for an Alzheimer’s disease research initiative; $461 million, a $100 million increase, for an antibiotic resistance initiative; $150 million, an $85 million increase, for the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neuro-technologies (BRAIN) initiative; and the full $200 million requested for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI).
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) – The bill funds SAMHSA at $3.6 billion – $23 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $21 million below the President’s budget request. The Substance Abuse Block Grant is funded at $1.8 billion – the same as the fiscal year 2015 level.
The bill provides $45 million – a $13.1 million increase – for services that address prescription drug abuse and heroin use in high-risk communities. Criminal justice activities receive $78 million – equal to the fiscal year 2015 level – including $60 million (a $10 million increase) for drug court funding.
The legislation maintains a prohibition on federal funds for the purchase of syringes or sterile needles, but allows communities with rapid increases in cases of HIV and Hepatitis to access federal funds for other activities, including substance use counseling and treatment referrals.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – The recommendation provides $3.3 billion for CMS management and operations, which is $344 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $919 million below the budget request. The bill does not include additional funding to implement ObamaCare programs, and prohibits funds for the new “Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight” and “Navigators” programs.
- Administration for Children and Families (ACF) – The bill provides $17.8 billion in discretionary funding for ACF, which is $50 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $1.9 billion below the President’s budget request. The Head Start program receives $8.8 billion, a $192 million increase, of which $150 million is targeted to Early Head Start and $42 million to a 0.5 percent Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) increase for Head Start Grantees. The Family Violence Prevention and Battered Women’s Shelters program is funded at $145 million – a $10 million increase.
- Administration for Community Living (ACL) – The bill funds ACL at $1.9 billion, which is $261 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $161 million below the President’s budget request. The bulk of the increase supports the transition programs under the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” from the Department of Education to ACL, and the transfer of the Traumatic Brain Injury program from HRSA to ACL. The bill also provides $441 million – a $2.5 million increase – for Congregate Meals, and $220 million – a $3.5 million increase – for the Meals on Wheels program.
- The bill contains a provision ensuring any new HHS Dietary Guidelines focus only on food and nutrients and have a sound scientific evidence base.
Department of Education – The bill funds the Department of Education at $64.4 billion, which is $2.8 billion below the fiscal year 2015 level and $6.4 billion below the President’s budget request. The bill eliminates 19 duplicative, ineffective, or unauthorized education programs, and makes reductions to several other lower-priority programs.
- Special Education – The bill includes $12 billion for IDEA special education grants to states, an increase of more than $500 million over the fiscal year 2015 enacted level, which will increase the federal share of special education funding to states from 16 percent to 17 percent.
- Charter Schools Program – The bill includes an increase of $22 million over the fiscal year 2015 enacted level for grants to support the creation of new charter schools, for a total of $275 million.
- Pell Grants – The maximum Pell Grant award is increased to $5,915, funded by a combination of discretionary and mandatory funds.
- Impact Aid – The bill provides nearly $1.3 billion for Impact Aid, an increase of $10 million above the current enacted level.
Other Related Agencies –
- Policy Provisions – The bill also includes several policy provisions, including prohibitions on the Department of Education from moving forward with regulations to establish a college ratings system, place new requirements on teacher preparation, define “gainful employment” and “credit hour,” and dictate how states must license institutions of higher education.
- Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) – The bill includes $687.8 million for CNCS – maintaining funding for Senior Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA at the fiscal year 2015 level. The bill also provides funding to maintain competitive AmeriCorps state and national grants.
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) – The bill provides an advance appropriation of $445 million for CPB for fiscal year 2018, which is the same level of advance funding provided in the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and the budget request.
- National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – The bill includes $200 million for the NLRB – a decrease of $74.2 million (27 percent) below last year’s level and $78 million (28 percent) below the President’s budget request.
In addition, the legislation includes several policy provisions to stop the NLRB’s harmful anti-business regulations that would impose additional and excessive costs on American businesses, increase job loss, and further hinder economic growth. Some of these provisions include: a prohibition on use of electronic voting in union elections; a prohibition on implementing new regulations on representation-case procedures; a prohibition on issuing new joint-employer standards; and a prohibition on exercising jurisdiction over Indian tribes.
- Social Security Administration (SSA) – The bill provides $11.8 billion to administer SSA activities –an increase of $12 million over the fiscal year 2015 level – to ensure those served by the program receive efficient and timely assistance and services.
To view the draft bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2016-laborhhs-subcommitteedraft.pdf