House Stalls Action on Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill

The House Appropriations Committee released a draft of the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY 2013) Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill last week, although the full committee report with details on many specific program funding levels has yet to be released. Overall, the bill cuts more than $7 billion in discretionary funding from current levels.  The majority of core child welfare programs are flat-funded, but there are some notable increases and decreases.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) is cut $552 million and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is funded $111 million below last year’s level.   Discretionary funding for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program is reduced by $3 million.  The bill also eliminates Title X Family Planning funding, places restrictions on funding for Planned Parenthood, and guts funding for teen pregnancy prevention, redirecting some of it toward abstinence-only education.  Finally, it zeroes out funding for the Department of Education’s Race to the Top Initiative, a considerable chunk of which was to be devoted to early learning funding in the coming year, and de-funds many of the programs integral to the President’s health care reform law, which would make implementing the law difficult if not impossible.  However, Head Start ($46 million) and child care ($25 million) do receive modest funding increases, although these increases are lower than they both receive under the Senate bill.

The timeline on full House consideration of the Labor-HHS bill is as yet uncertain.  A full committee mark-up had been rumored to be scheduled for this week but as of now that has been postponed indefinitely.  Next week is the House’s last week in session before the five-week August recess.

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