Top Democratic Successes in the FY 2019 Defense and Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Minibus
This month, the House is expected to consider the conference report on a two-bill "minibus" that includes the Defense and Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bills, as well as a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 7, 2018. A summary of Democratic priorities and successes in the minibus is included below. A PDF copy is available here. A statement from Ranking Member Lowey on the minibus is available here. A full summary of the legislation is available here.
With a strong and united position in favor of important priorities and against poison pill riders, House Democrats secured increased funding for biomedical research, opioid abuse prevention and treatment, child care, and career and technical education.
House Democrats also forced Republicans to abandon extreme riders attacking women’s reproductive health care, the Affordable Care Act, and workplace rights, while adding new provisions to address the family separation crisis created by the Trump administration.
The minibus reflects Democratic priorities by:
Rejecting the Trump Budget: The conference report rejects President Trump’s extreme budget cuts, rejecting nearly $10 billion in proposed cuts to important programs in the Labor-HHS-Education bill. The restoration of this funding block Trump administration proposals that would have reduced job training opportunities, made college less affordable, and limited access to quality, affordable health care.
Strengthening Military Readiness: The conference report provides $606.5 billion in base funding for the military, meeting the needs of our armed services and Intelligence Community. The bill also ensures that our service members receive a 2.6 percent pay raise.
Ensuring Survivor Benefits: The conference report includes House language, preferred by the Department of Defense, which will permit the use of funds to pay for death gratuities to dependents of servicemembers killed in action in the event of a government shutdown.
Cleaning Up Environmental Damage: The conference report provides an increase of $13.2 million, for a total of $1.2 billion, for Environmental Restoration Accounts. Of these funds, $141.5 million will specifically address remediation efforts for contamination caused by perfluorinated chemicals.
Assisting Victims of Military Sexual Assault: The conference report provides a $5 million increase, for a total of $35 million, for continued implementation and expansion of the Sexual Assault Special Victim’s Counsel Program. This important program provides judge advocates who represent the interests of survivors throughout the military justice process.
Repairing Department of Defense Schools: The conference reporter provides a $35 million increase, for a total of $270 million, to construct, renovate, repair, or expand elementary and secondary public schools on military installations. Priority is given to those schools having the most serious deficiencies.
Funding Military Medical Research: The conference report provides $34.4 billion for the Defense Health Program, including $1.47 billion for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). This funding ensures that service members receive the highest quality medical care.
Boosting Biomedical Research: The conference report provides an increase of $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, for a total of $39.1 billion, to support research to improve prevention, treatment, and cures to life-threatening illnesses and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Influenza, and Diabetes.
Expanding Opioid Prevention and Treatment: The conference report provides approximately $4.4 billion to respond to the opioid crisis, including prevention, treatment, research to develop non-opioid pain medication, and behavioral health workforce training. This increase builds on last year’s historic investment to help millions of Americans affected by opioids.
Standing Up to President Trump on Family Separation: The conference report maintains policies advanced by House Democrats to hold the Administration accountable for its cruel policy of family separation at the border, including directing the Secretary of HHS to submit a family reunification plan to Congress and funding for trauma counseling services for separated children. These and other provisions increase transparency and oversight of HHS and help provide care and services to children in HHS custody. The conference report does not include House Republican language that would have overridden the Flores settlement and authorized the indefinite detention of immigrant children.
Launching New Initiatives for Maternal and Child Health: The conference report provides $50 million to support a new Maternal Mortality initiative through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to reduce the incidence of maternal mortality; provides $10 million to the CDC for a new initiative to address emerging health threats to mothers and babies, including Zika virus; includes funding to address neonatal abstinence syndrome; and increases funding for newborn screening.
Supporting Lifechanging Services for Children and Families: The conference report provides a boost of $200 million for Head Start, including $50 million for Early Head Start, for a total of $10.1 billion. These programs provide comprehensive development, literacy and family services to thousands of young children from working families. It also builds on progress made in last year’s historic increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which provides child care assistance for low-income families, with an increase of $50 million for a total of $5.3 billion. There is a $10 million increase, for a total of $1.2 billion, for 21st Century Community Learning Centers – which help working families feel secure knowing that their children are exposed to enrichment activities before and after school.
Investing in 21st Century Workforce and Access to Postsecondary Education: The conference report provides an increase of $15 million, for a total of $160 million, for Registered Apprenticeship grants, which help connect businesses to workers with the skills necessary to fill jobs in a variety of industries. The conference report also includes an increase of $70 million, for a total of $1.3 billion, for Career and Technical Education to help ensure students are well prepared for further education and employment in high-skill and high-demand jobs. Finally, the conference report includes sufficient funding to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $100 to $6,195. With financial aid not keeping pace with rising college costs, this increase will help more students access a postsecondary education.