On September 19, the House passed a continuing resolution (H.R.4378) to keep the government funded from the start of fiscal year (FY) 2020 on October 1 through November 21. Meanwhile, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-NY) released a draft of the FY 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill the day before. Most of The Arc’s priority programs receive the same funding level as in FY 2019 in the proposed Senate bill, however some programs receive increases such as Lifespan Respite Care Act (49%) and Special Olympics Education Programs (14%). Funding levels for The Arc’s priority programs can be found here.
Senate funding talks have stalled over disagreements over allocation of funding between the 12 spending bills (known as 302(b)s), funding for Planned Parenthood, and what constitutes a “poison pill rider” (a controversial provision that is unlikely to pass on its own). With only 10 working days to pass a bill before the end of fiscal year (FY) 2019, prospects for a government shutdown or a short-term spending bill are increasing. So far, the Senate has only passed two of its 12 spending bills. With the full-year funding bills at a standstill, Congress will need to pass a short-term spending bill by September 30 to avoid a shutdown. Meanwhile, the House is expected to vote on a bill this week that would fund the government until Nov. 21. If a short-term funding bill is enacted, funding for disability-related programs would remain funded at the levels the received in FY 2019 until another funding bill is enacted.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies is also scheduled to mark up the FY2020 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development bill (or THUD) on Tuesday, September 17, and the full Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Thursday, September 19. There are many important programs that impact of the lives of people with disabilities and their families included this bill. For information on how the FY 2020 funding bill could impact Housing Choice Vouchers, see this report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that the House will consider a continuing resolution the week of September 16 to prevent a government shutdown on September 30, the start of fiscal year (FY) 2020. Meanwhile, the Senate will begin marking up its full FY 2020 appropriations bills this week. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill, which funds most disability-related programs, will be marked up in Subcommittee on September 10 and by the full Committee on September 12. The House has already passed ten of its twelve appropriations bills earlier this summer, but with higher funding levels than those agreed to in the recent budget deal. It is unlikely that Congress will come to an agreement on full-year appropriations bills by September 30. The short-term spending bill is expected to run through late November or early December to allow lawmakers enough time to agree on funding levels.
On June 19, the House of Representatives approved H.R.2740 with a vote of 226-203. It contained four appropriations bills, including the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS-Ed) bill. The package is not expected to pass the Senate as written due to the cost and controversial policy language. The White House has threatened to veto it.
On September 28, President Trump signed into law a measure that funds the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (L-HHS-ED) for fiscal year (FY) 2019 that begins on October 1. The measure also includes funding for the Department of Defense and a continuing resolution for other federal agencies until December 7. The package had been approved by the House on September 26. Most of The Arc’s priority programs were level funded or received slight increases and controversial policy riders have been removed. Additionally, $300,000 was added to fund the Caregiving Advisory Council established under the RAISE Family Caregivers Act and $5 million was added to fund Care Corps, a network of volunteer caregivers. Funding levels for The Arc’s priority programs can be found here.
On August 23, the Senate passed the fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (L-HHS-Ed) by a vote of 85-7. A number of amendments were passed to provide funding increases for select programs (such as school-based mental health services, opioid treatment, and child abuse prevention), but the bill did not include controversial policy riders. With only a few legislative days left before the midterm elections, the House is not expected to take up its Labor-HHS-Ed bill before then. A continuing resolution to keep the government funded through November or December is expected.
On June 16, the Committee report was posted for the bill that was passed the day before by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (L-HHS-ED). The report includes line item funding levels for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and shows that most of The Arc’s priority programs would be level funded, with a few seeing increases and one being cut. On June 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the L-HHS-ED funding bill. Like the House version, this bill funds most of The Arc’s priority programs at FY 2018 levels, but does not contain any cuts. See the proposed funding levels by the House and Senate here.
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget and long term deficit reduction will continue to be on the Senate agenda this week. A group of six lawmakers led by Vice President Joe Biden will meet for the second time Tuesday to continue talks on developing a legislative framework for deficit reduction. President Obama established the group to try and reach agreement before the vote on raising the debt ceiling. Joining the Vice President in the talks are Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), John Kyl (R-AZ), Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI), and Representatives Eric Cantor (R-VA), James E. Clyburn (D-SC), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) is expected to introduce a budget resolution later this week. While the proposal could change before introduction as he continues to discuss the plan with his colleagues, it is expected to reduce the long term deficit by about $4 trillion. It is not likely to turn the Medicare program into a voucher program, but details are not yet known about any suggested Medicaid cuts.