Education/Appropriations – House Appropriators Reject School Choice Initiatives

The House Appropriations Committee did not fund two Trump Administration education priorities. In the Administration’s FY 2018 Budget, the President requested $1 billion for “portability” of funds to public school of choice and $250 million for research and private school scholarships for low-income families. However, the Appropriations Committee report noted that these programs have not been authorized. This means that Congress would need to enact legislation to allow public education dollars to be used for both public school portability and private school choice efforts.

Budget & Appropriations – House Appropriations Committee Passes L-HHS-Ed Funding Bill

On July 19, the House Appropriations Committee approved the draft FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (L-HHS-ED) funding bill by a vote of 28-22. The bill provides an overall funding level of $156 billion, a $5 billion (3.1%) discretionary cut from FY 2017 levels. Most disability-related programs were level funded, with few seeing cuts and a small number receiving increases. See line items for disability related programs here. The Senate has yet to release its L-HHS-Ed funding bill, though the overall allocation is higher ($164 billion) than the House’s bill ($156 billion).

Budget & Appropriations – House Budget Committee Passes FY 2018 Budget Resolution

The House Budget Committee approved a Budget Resolution on a 22-14 party-line vote. The 10-year budget plan includes:

  • $4.4 trillion in cuts from Mandatory programs:
    • $1.5 trillion cut from Medicaid and other health programs (includes House-passed American Health Care Act cuts plus additional cuts)
    • $487 billion cut from Medicare
    • $4 billion cut from Social Security disability insurance (SSDI)
    • Almost $2.5 trillion cut from other mandatory programs like SNAP (food stamps) and other income security programs
  • $1.3 trillion in cuts to Non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs below the current cap, while defense is increased $930 billion above the cap. This would put NDD funding (which includes many disability-related programs such as housing, employment, education, and transportation) at 17% below 2010 levels when factoring in inflation.

The House budget also provides “reconciliation instructions” for 11 committees to fast-track a package of spending cuts and tax cuts, requiring only 50 votes in the Senate to pass. Since the instructions specify “deficit-neutral” rather than “revenue-neutral” tax reform, the Ways & Means Committee will be able offset the costs of tax cuts with cuts to mandatory spending, such as Medicaid and Medicare. The House of Representatives is expected to take up this measure in September. The Arc strongly opposes the House Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Budget Resolution.

Budget & Appropriations – L-HHS-Ed Appropriations Bill Advances

The House of Representatives continued advancing several funding bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 which begins on October 1. On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee released its draft bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (L-HHS-ED) which includes the vast majority of discretionary disability-related programs and passed it out of subcommittee the following day. The bill provides funding of $156 billion, a $5 billion (3.1%) cut from FY 2017 levels. The Department of Education has the most significant cut of $2.5 billion (though IDEA programs received a small increase), while the Department of Labor would face a $1 billion cut and HHS faces around $500 million in cuts. See summary here. Line item figures are expected to be made available soon. A markup by the full House Appropriations Committee is planned for July 19.

Budget & Appropriations – President Releases Full Budget

Last week, President Trump released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Unlike the FY 2018 “skinny” budget released in March, this one includes all parts of the federal budget and includes 10-year spending proposals, through FY 2027. As outlined in The Arc’s statement, on top of the more than $830 billion in Medicaid cuts already approved by the House of Representatives, the budget proposes an additional $610 billion in cuts to Medicaid; $72 billion in cuts to Social Security’s disability programs; and hundreds of billions more in cuts to other effective federal programs that are vital to people with disabilities and their families.

“Where we invest our federal dollars is a measure of our values as a nation. Today the Trump Administration showed its cards, and coupled with the devastating Medicaid cuts already approved by the House of Representatives in the health care bill, the deck is stacked against people with disabilities,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO, The Arc. Learn more in The Arc’s full statement on the President’s budget proposal.

Budget & Appropriations – President’s Full FY 2018 Expected on May 23

The President’s detailed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 is expected to be released tomorrow, May 23. Unlike the “skinny” FY 2018 budget released in March, this one will include all parts of the federal budget: mandatory programs (such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security), discretionary programs (such as employment, housing, and education), and revenue (individual, corporate, payroll, excise, estate, and other taxes, fees, and duties). According to press reports, the President’s budget will propose $1.7 trillion in cuts to mandatory programs over 10 years. This amount appears to include the over $800 billion in Medicaid cuts in the House-passed health care repeal in addition to over $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and possibly other programs while also proposing historic tax cuts. Learn more here.

The President’s budget is a broad blueprint of the Administration’s priorities and is not binding. The House and Senate develop their own budgets, resolve any differences, and then use the amounts agreed to in order to develop appropriations bills and/or reconciliation instructions for Congressional Committees to develop legislation affecting mandatory spending and revenues.

Budget and Appropriations – Omnibus Spending Package Enacted Through the End of FY 2017; Most Disability Programs Level Funded

On May 5, within hours of the expiration of a one-week funding bill, President Trump signed into law a measure to fund most of the federal government through the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 on September 30. The measure provides for a $15 billion increase each for defense and nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs over the FY 2017 sequester caps that had been negotiated in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Disability-related programs were almost entirely level funded. Two exceptions were the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state grants with a $90 million increase (less than 1%) and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights with a $1.5 million increase (1.4%). The bill also includes $1.5 billion for border security (technology and repairs), but not for construction of a wall on the border with Mexico, as President Trump had wanted. Democratic leaders are saying that they succeeded in excluding 160 poison pill riders, including exclusion of Planned Parenthood funding. House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) posted a summary of what the measure does and does not include here.

Budget & Appropriations – Last Minute Short Term Funding Bill Enacted, FY 2017 Omnibus Funding Bill Text Released

Within hours of a partial government shutdown, the House and Senate approved and President Trump later signed a continuing resolution, H.J.Res. 99, that would extend government funding for one week beyond the midnight April 28 deadline to give lawmakers time to wrap up negotiations on a spending package for the remainder of FY 2017 that ends on September 30. The text of the longer-term Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 spending package was released in the early hours of May 1. The measure includes $15 billion increases for both defense and nondefense discretionary funding (NDD) over the FY 2017 caps. This “extra” amount over the sequester caps is what was agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which faced objection by conservatives. The deal includes $1.5 billion for border security (technology and existing wall repairs), but not for construction of a wall on the border with Mexico. Democratic leaders are saying that they succeeded in excluding 160 poison pill riders, including exclusion of Planned Parenthood funding. House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey has posted a summary of what the bill does and does not include here. The House and Senate are both expected to vote on the FY2017 omnibus spending bill this week.

Budget & Appropriations/Health Care – Congress Returns This Week

On April 25, Congress will return after its April recess and will resume negotiations on a plan to fund most of the federal government past April 28 when the current funding measure expires. Current stumbling blocks are funding for Planned Parenthood and the wall on the border with Mexico. The House may resume negotiations on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the measure that would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and make dramatic cuts to the Medicaid program. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has indicated that the AHCA bill will not be brought to a vote in the House until enough votes are secured for it to pass. The Arc will continue to monitor Congress’s activity and keep our constituents up to date on important events.

Budget & Appropriations – President Releases FY 2018 “Skinny” Budget

President Trump’s administration released a short version of his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget on March 16. While this budget does not address substantial parts of the federal budget and provides very little detail, it does indicate double digit cuts to several priority agencies for people with disabilities for the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2017:

  • A cut of 18 percent for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that operates the largest number of discretionary programs for people with disabilities. This includes elimination of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant and $403 million in cuts to health professions and nursing training programs.
  • A cut of 13 percent for the Department of Education. While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act program is level funded, the budget includes significant cuts to community schools, professional development, and class-size funding which would adversely affect all students.
  • A 13.2 percent decrease for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, with only about half of the 7.5 billion in proposed cuts identified. Public housing funding would be cut by 30 percent, resulting in the loss of about 200,000 housing choice vouchers.
  • A 21 percent cut for the Department of Labor, including unspecified cuts to job training and employment service formula grants, projected to result in the loss of over 123,000 supported jobs.

The President’s detailed budget is expected in May. Congress is expected to develop its FY 2018 budget resolution after the President’s full budget request is released.