Today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor/HHS marked up its FY 2019 bill. This bill provides funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (except FDA) and for the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The proposed funding for NTEU-represented bureaus of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is as follows:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) — The bill funds SAMHSA at $5.6 billion — $448 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $2.1 billion above the President’s request. SAMHSA funding includes:
- $2.4 billion for the Substance Abuse Block Grant, $500 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $500 million above the fiscal year 2019 request.
- The bill also includes $3.85 billion to address substance use, including opioid and heroin abuse, which is $36 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $1.75 billion above the budget request. This amount includes $1 billion for state opioid response grants, along with funding for programs authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) — The bill includes $6.5 billion for HRSA, which is $196 million below the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $3 billion below the budget request. The bill completely defunds Title X Family Planning programs. This provision is controversial policy-wise and could potentially lead to a stand-off over enactment of the entire funding measure.
- Administration for Children and Families (ACF) — The bill provides $22.9 billion in discretionary funding for ACF, which is $60 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $7.6 billion above the budget request.
- Administration for Community Living (ACL) — The bill funds ACL at $2.2 billion, which is $10 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $363 million above the budget request.
At the Social Security Administration (SSA), the bill provides $12.4 billion to administer SSA activities, which is $332 million below the fiscal year 2018 enacted level, and $164 million above the budget request. And, $1.683 billion of this is for continuing disability reviews, work done by NTEU members at SSA. This funding level is insufficient to ensure those served by the program receive efficient, timely assistance, and for the Disability Insurance Trust Fund to be protected from fraud. NTEU is strongly opposed to this limited funding at an office where increased resources would more than pay for themselves and will continue to advocate for higher levels of funding.
NTEU National President Tony Reardon believes the proposed appropriations for all of these bureaus will be sufficient to avoid RIFs or furloughs of NTEU members. However, Tony remains concerned that the elimination of funding for Title X Family Planning will impact the funding measure’s ability to move through the legislative process.
If you have any further questions on this matter, please feel free to share them with your chapter president or legislative coordinator.