What is it?
This bill would provide $179.3 billion in FY2019 funding for the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services (HHS), Education, and related agencies — an increase of $2.2 billion from the prior year. A breakdown of its various provisions can be found below.
DEPT. OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
This section would provide $90.1 billion in discretionary funding for HHS, an increase of $2.3 billion from the prior year.
National Institutes of Health (NIH): The NIH would receive $39.1 billion, an increase of $2 billion from the prior year. That’d include:
- $2.3 billion for Alzheimer’s disease research, up $425 million from the prior year, which would exceed the $2 billion funding goal for the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s disease for the first time.
- $550 million to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria, increase of $37 million.
- $500 million for research on opioid addiction, development of opioid alternatives, pain management, and addiction treatment.
- $429.4 million for the BRAIN Initiative to map the human brain, an increase of $29 million.
- $120 million for research on the universal flu vaccine, a $20 million increase.
Fighting Opioid Abuse: This section would provide $3.7 billion for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other agencies to fight opioid abuse, an increase of $145 million from the prior year. It’d include:
- $1.5 billion for the SAMHSA’s State Opioid Response Grant, which includes a 15 percent set-aside for states with the highest opioid use disorder mortality rate and $50 million set-aside for Indian tribes and tribal organizations.
- $500 million for research related to opioid addiction, development of opioid alternatives, pain management, and addiction treatment.
- $476 million for CDC opioid overdose prevention and surveillance programs, and a public awareness campaign.
- $200 million for Community Health Centers to support and enhance behavioral health, mental health, or substance use disorder.
- $120 million for responding to the opioid epidemic in rural communities.
Obamacare: No new funding would be provided for the Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly known as Obamacare). This section would also include the following oversight provisions:
- The risk corridor program, which compensates health insurance plans that lose money, would have to be operated in a budget neutral manner so no appropriations could be used as payments to insurers.
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would be required to notify relevant congressional committees two business days before any ACA-related data or grant opportunities are released to the public.
- ACA-related spending would have to be classified by category since its inception, and information about employees, contractors, and activities involved in administering Obamacare would have to be published.
Head Start: This section would provide $10.1 billion for Head Start, an increase of $250 million from the prior year. Funding would keep all Head Start programs current, while an additional $35 million would expand the length of Head Start programs’ day and year to increase the duration of services provided.
Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): This section would provide $5.2 billion, equal to the prior year. The program provides grants to improve the quality of child care programs, increasing provider rates, ensuring safety standards, and expanding access to affordable child care.
Public Health Preparedness and Response:
- The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is responsible for advanced research and development of medical countermeasures for national preparedness efforts, would receive $562 million in funding.
- Project BioShield would receive $735 million, up $25 million, which aims to enhance national preparedness by procuring medical countermeasures against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats.
- $285 million would be provided to improve the response and enhance the effectiveness of the current pandemic influenza capabilities.
- The Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, which provides states with resources to further their response capabilities for natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and CBRN threats.
- $182 million would be provided to reduce the Medicare appeals backlog, an equal amount to the prior year’s funding.
- $27 million would be provided for services for victims of human trafficking, an increase of $3 million from the prior year.
DEPT. OF EDUCATION
This section would provide $71.4 billion in FY2019 discretionary funding for the Dept. of Education, an increase of $541 million above the prior year.
Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies: $15.9 billion, an increase of $125 million, would be provided for grants to school districts and schools with a high percentage of low-income students to help all students succeed and meet challenging academic standards.
Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $1.2 billion, an increase of $125 million, would be provided to support activities aimed at giving students a well-rounded education, including STEM education, computer science, and the use of technology to improve instruction. Grants would also go to ensuring safe and supportive learning environments and responding to school violence.
IDEA Grants to States: $13.3 billion, an increase of $125 million, would go to grants for states to support special education services for children with disabilities, including grants for infants and families and children in preschool.
Pell Grants: The maximum Pell grant award would be increased to $6,195 — an increase of $100 — while funding would be provided to support the Year Round Pell.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): Funding and authorities provided last year would be continued, which modified eligibility criteria for the PSLF. Student borrowers would be eligible for PSLF if they were enrolled in an ineligible repayment plan but otherwise would’ve been eligible for PSLF.
- Career & Technical Education State Grants would receive the same funding as the year prior, $1.2 billion.
- Grants to states for charter schools, charter management organizations, and other entities for the start-up, replication, and expansion of high-quality charter schools would total $445 million — an increase of $45 million.
- Impact Aid would be funded with $1.4 billion, an increase of $25 million, to provide flexible support to local school districts impacted by the presence of federally-owned land and activities, such as military bases.
- $65 million in dedicated funding would be provided for evidence-based STEM education programs, including computer science education within the Education Innovation and Research program — an increase of $15 million.
DEPT. OF LABOR
This section of the bill would provide $12.1 billion to the Dept. of Labor, a decrease of $92 million from the prior year.
Workforce Training Programs: A total of $2.8 billion would be distributed by formula to states and localities to meet each state’s unique job training and reemployment needs.
Jobs Corps: $1.7 billion would be provided to support Jobs Corps, which is the nation’s largest career technical training and educational program for at-risk youth and has centers in all states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Veterans Employment Training (VETS) Programs: VETS programs would receive $300 million in funding, a $5 million increase from the prior year. VETS funding provides for intensive employment services to veterans and eligible spouses, transitioning service members, wounded warriors, and disabled veterans.
Rural Workforce Training Initiative: This section would provide $30 million for the dislocated worker training initiative, which offers reemployment and training assistance to dislocated workers in rural areas that were hardest hit by the recession or are recovering slowly. Funding is targeted to retraining workers in the Appalachian and Delta regions, and $5 million of the total is targeted to workforce training for individuals affected by an opioid use disorder.
- The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would receive $445 million for FY2021, level funding relative to FY2020. An additional $20 million would be provided for FY2019 to continue upgrades to the public broadcasting interconnection system.
- The Institute of Museum and Library Services would receive $242 million, a $2 million increase from the prior year, which supports programs for museums and libraries that encourage innovation, lifelong learning opportunities, promote cultural and civic engagement, and improve access to a variety of services.
- $1.7 billion would be provided to preventing Social Security Disability fraud, abuse, and improper payments which is estimated to save roughly $9 billion over 10 years for the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs.
The Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services.
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.
In-Depth: Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) said of the bill:
“This bill prioritizes resources for programs that touch the lives of every American and address the biggest challenges facing our nation. Working within the limits of the budget agreement, we were able to continue our commitment to advancing medical research, fighting the opioid epidemic, improving rural health care, and ensuring students have the education and job training to be successful. These are all areas where federal investment is needed to strengthen communities, promote economic growth, and increase U.S. competitiveness.”
The bill passed the full Senate Appropriations Committee on 30-1 vote.