July 12, 2017
The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (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 $156 billion in discretionary funding, which is a reduction of $5 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The bill cuts funding to lower-priority programs, while targeting investments in medical research, public health, biodefense, and important activities that help boost job growth. The legislation also includes several provisions to rein in unnecessary regulations, and to protect the sanctity of life.
“This bill reflects Republican priorities to cut spending and focus investments in programs our people need the most – public health and medical research, biodefense, fundamental education, and proven programs that increase job growth, for example,” House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “It also includes important provisions to stop government overreach.”
“The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill again achieves its goal of reducing discretionary spending, while remaining committed to important national priorities. For a third consecutive year, it allocates a significant funding increase of $1.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which will benefit a wide range of biomedical programs, including public health preparedness and readiness in biodefense, and research programs to find cures spanning from cancer to Alzheimer’s. Included as well are increases for special education funding; TRIO, GEAR UP, and early childhood education programs; and new provisions to protect human life. This bill is one that reflects the priorities that Americans value, and will continue to support the well-being of Americans through funding these vital programs,” LHHS Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole said.
Department of Labor (DoL) – The bill provides a total of $10.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for DoL – $1.3 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The bill provides robust funding for job training programs and sufficient funding for labor enforcement and benefit protection agencies to fulfill their core missions, while reducing lower-priority and underperforming programs.
- Employment Training Administration (ETA) – The legislation provides ETA with $8.5 billion – a decrease of $1.5 billion below last year’s enacted level and $848 million above the budget request. This total includes $2.6 billion for job training grants, $84.5 million for YouthBuild, and $790 million in mandatory appropriations for Federal Unemployment Benefits and Allowances, which provides job training programs for workers who lose their jobs as a result of international trade.
- Job Corps – The bill provides $1.69 billion for Job Corps, a decrease of $16 million over the 2017 enacted level and $239.7 million above the budget request. Funding is included in addition to amounts provided in fiscal year 2017 for physical facility safety and security improvements.
- Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) – The bill provides $284 million for VETS, which is $5 million above the fiscal year 2017 level. This includes a $2.5 million increase to expand the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.
- Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) – The bill funds MSHA at $360 million, $14 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The funding level reflects the declining need for MSHA inspection activities due to the lower levels of mining across the country and especially in coal production.
- 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, including:
- A new provision prohibiting enforcement of the “Fiduciary” rule, which places significant new regulatory burdens on retirement investment advisers.
- A continuation of provisions providing flexibility in the H-2B program, reducing regulatory requirements and ensuring that employers that comply with program requirements have access to the temporary, seasonal workers their businesses depend on.
- The continuation of a provision exempting insurance claims adjusters from overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act in areas that have been hit by a major disaster.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – The bill includes a total of $77.6 billion for HHS, a decrease of $542 million below last year’s enacted level and $14.5 billion above the President’s budget request. The legislation targets funds to effective, proven programs that help improve the health, safety, and quality of life for Americans. Within this amount, the bill includes:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) – The bill provides a total of $35.2 billion for NIH, an increase of $1.1 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $8.6 billion above the President’s budget request.
The bill provides increases for several critical research initiatives, including:
- $1.8 billion, a $400 million increase, for Alzheimer’s disease research,
- $336 million, a $76 million increase, for the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative,
- $400 million, a $80 million increase, for the All of Us research initiative (formerly called the Precision Medicine Initiative),
- $300 million for the Cancer Moonshot,
- $10 million, an $8 million increase, for regenerative medicine research, and
- $12.6 million for the Gabriella Miller “Kids First” pediatric cancer research initiative.
Within the total, the legislation includes $526 million (+$10 million) for Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards, $374 million (+$40 million) for Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) programs, and $493 million (+$30 million) for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.
The bill includes a new provision requiring NIH to continue reimbursing grantee research institutions for facilities and administrative costs.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – The legislation includes a total of $7 billion for CDC – $198 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $1 billion above the President’s budget request. This includes $840.6 million in transfers from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. The bill also continues the longstanding prohibition against using federal funds to advocate or promote gun control.
Funding within the CDC includes $1.45 billion for CDC’s Public Health Preparedness and Response programs – an increase of $45 million. This will ensure that the Strategic National Stockpile and State and Local Preparedness capacity are adequate. These programs provide supplies and response efforts in the event of a bioterror attack or pandemic disease emergency.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) – The bill funds SAMHSA at $3.5 billion – $306 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $68 million above the President’s request. 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.
SAMHSA funding includes:
- $1.86 billion for the Substance Abuse Block Grant – the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $3.4 million above the President’s budget request.
- $78 million for Criminal Justice activities – equal to the fiscal year 2017 level and the request – including $60 million specifically for drug courts.
- The bill includes $747 million to address opioid and heroin abuse, which is the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $44 million above the request. This amount includes $500 million for the state response grants authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, along with funding for programs authorized in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) – The bill includes $5.8 billion for HRSA, which is $398 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $277 million above the President’s budget request. The amount includes:
- $300 million for the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education, the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
- $103.5 million for the Healthy Start program – and $642 million for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant – the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
- An elimination of all funding for the controversial Family Planning (Title X) Program, saving taxpayers nearly $300 million.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) – The recommendation provides $300 million for AHRQ, which is $24 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The budget request proposed to merge most of AHRQ’s activities into NIH.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – The recommendation provides $3.5 billion for CMS administrative expenses, which is $219 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $137 million below the fiscal year 2018 request. This level is sufficient to maintain core operations and services.
The bill does not include additional funding to implement ObamaCare programs, prohibits funds for the “Navigators” program, and prohibits the collection of user fees from the Health Insurance Exchanges.
- Administration for Children and Families (ACF) – The bill provides $18.5 billion in discretionary funding for ACF, which is $761 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $4 billion above the fiscal year 2018 request.
- Early childhood programs receive an increase of $26 million. Head Start receives $9.3 billion, a $22 million increase, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant receives $2.8 billion, a $4 million increase.
- The bill maintains funding for Preschool Development Grants at $250 million, the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
- Administration for Community Living (ACL) – The bill funds ACL at $2.2 billion, which is $243 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $386 million above the fiscal year 2018 request. This amount includes:
- $838 million for senior nutrition programs, of which $227 million is for the Meals on Wheels program, and
- Transfer of the Senior Community Service Employment Program from the Department of Labor.
Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) – The bill provides $1.7 billion for PHSSEF, an increase of $221 million above the fiscal year 2017 level and $77 million above the budget request. This includes:
- $520 million, an increase of $8.3 million, for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA),
- $530 million, an increase of $20 million, for Project BioShield, for the acquisition of medical countermeasures, and
- $250 million, an increase of $178 million, for pandemic influenza preparedness to maintain flu vaccine manufacturing facilities and develop flu vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
The bill also includes enhanced transfer authority to enable HHS to take quick action to address public health emergencies.
Department of Education – The bill funds the Department of Education at $66 billion, which is $2.4 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The bill eliminates several duplicative or ineffective education programs, and makes reductions to several other lower‑priority programs.
- Special Education – The bill includes $12.2 billion for IDEA special education grants to states, an increase of $200 million over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, which will maintain the federal share of special education funding to states.
- Student Support and Academic Achievement State Grants – The bill includes $500 million, $100 million above the fiscal year 2017 level, for grants that provide flexible funds to states and school districts to expand access, improve school conditions, and increase the use of technology.
- Pell Grants – The maximum Pell Grant award is maintained at $5,920, funded by a combination of discretionary and mandatory funds. The bill rescinds $3.3 billion of the total $8.5 billion Pell surplus. The Administration’s budget proposed a rescission of $3.9 billion.
- Impact Aid – The bill provides over $1.3 billion for Impact Aid, an increase of $5 million above the current enacted level.
- Charter Schools – The bill increases funding for charter schools by $28 million, to a total of $370 million.
- TRIO and GEAR UP programs, which help first-generation college students prepare for, enter, and complete college, are increased by $60 million and $10 million, respectively, bringing TRIO programs to a total of $1.01 billion and GEAR UP to a total of $350 million.
Other Related Agencies –
Defunding ObamaCare – The legislation contains several provisions to stop the implementation of ObamaCare – including prohibiting the use of any new discretionary funding to implement ObamaCare.
Cuts and Terminations – The legislation cuts or terminates several lower-priority, unproven, or unnecessary programs. For example, some of these cuts include:
- A cut of $150 million in refugee programs, consistent with the budget request;
- A cut of $450 million for the Unaccompanied Alien Children program;
- A cut of $91 million for the Dislocated Workers National Reserve;
- A cut of $10 million for the Wage and Hour Division;
- A cut of $10 million for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Assistance;
- A cut of $21 million for OSHA;
- A cut of $14 million for MSHA;
- A cut of $219 in CMS program management;
- A cut of $25 million for the NLRB
Several programs were also terminated; some of these include:
- Employment Service Grants ($671 million);
- International Labor Affairs Grants ($60 million), consistent with the budget request;
- CDC Climate Change program ($10 million), consistent with the budget request;
- Economic Development Grants ($20 million), consistent with the budget request;
- “Striving Readers” program ($190 million), consistent with the budget request;
- Health Careers Opportunity Program ($14 million), consistent with the budget request; and
- Overseas foreign language study program ($7 million), consistent with the budget request.
For the text of the draft FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill, please visit: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP07/20170713/106250/BILLS-115HR-SC-AP-FY2018-LaborHHS-LaborHHSFY2018.pdf