The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill. The legislation includes funding for programs within the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and other related agencies.
In total, the draft bill includes $153.4 billion in discretionary funding, which is $4 billion (-2.5%) below the fiscal year 2011 enacted level and $27.5 billion (-15.2%) below the President's budget request. The funding levels reflect the overall change in fiscal year 2012 discretionary spending to $1.043 trillion -- the amount to which the House, Senate, and White House agreed in the recent debt ceiling legislation.
The legislation contains several policy provisions aimed at reducing harmful and unnecessary federal regulations that tie the hands of employers and undermine job creation and economic growth. The bill also contains several provisions intended to stop the Administration from implementing ObamaCare, including a prohibition on funding to implement the law and several provisions rescinding funding previously provided for ObamaCare programs.
"Many of the programs and services funded in this bill protect the health and safety of the American people and provide assistance to the most vulnerable among us. However, excessive and wasteful spending over the years has put many of the programs and agencies funded in this bill on an irresponsible and unsustainable fiscal path. To protect critical programs and services that many Americans rely on -- especially in this time of fiscal crisis -- the bill takes decisive action to cut duplicative, inefficient, and wasteful spending to help get these agency budgets onto sustainable financial footing," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
"In addition, the bill makes great strides to rein in bureaucratic red tape and eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses and industries that are the backbone of our economy," Rogers continued. "These actions will help increase stability in our marketplace, and give employers greater confidence to invest in American businesses and create new jobs."
LHHS Subcommittee Chairman Denny Rehberg echoed Rogers's remarks, saying:
"This common-sense plan is built on the simple idea that the economy isn't just a bunch of numbers. This bill is about investing in people and creating the jobs they need by funding things like education to empower innovation and restore American ingenuity, and freeing employers from stifling government regulatory burdens that replace productivity with paperwork. By spending tax dollars strategically, we can balance critical funding for programs that actually help people and families with the real need to rein in government over-spending."
A subcommittee mark up of the draft LHHS bill released today has not yet been rescheduled.
For the LHHS subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/FY_2012_Final_LHHSE.pdf
Department of Labor (DoL) -- The bill provides $10.4 billion in new discretionary budget authority for the Department of Labor, which is $2.6 billion (-20%) below last year's level and $2.4 billion (-19%) below the President's request. The legislation also reforms the funding structure of several DoL programs to make them more transparent and accountable to the taxpayer by eliminating advance funding for future years and transitioning agency budgets to correspond with the regular fiscal year.
* Employment Training Administration (ETA) -- The legislation provides the ETA with $7.5 billion in new discretionary budget authority -- $2.2 billion (-23%) below last year's level and $2.1 billion (-22%) below the President's request. Much of this reduction is due to the transition of employment and training programs to a federal fiscal year and the elimination of $2.4 billion in advance appropriations for the 2013 fiscal year.
* Job Corps -- The bill provides $2.2 billion for Job Corps, which is $518 million above last year's level and $524 million above the President's request. This increase is due to the change in funding structure to move Job Corps operations to a regular fiscal year schedule. Therefore, this funding level will continue the program for 15 -- not 12 -- months.
* Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) -- Our nation's veterans need and deserve job training and employment opportunities following their service to the country. The bill increases the VETS program to a total of $271 million, which is $15.4 million (6%) above last year's level and $10 million (4%) above the President's request.
* Reducing Harmful Red Tape and Increasing Oversight -- To increase oversight over taxpayer funds and improve the effectiveness of DoL programs, the legislation requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct two studies: 1) an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of job training programs; and 2) an evaluation of the "skills-mismatch" problem within these programs to ensure that the training provided is adequate to meet the employment needs of local businesses and the demands of the current marketplace.
In addition, the legislation includes several provisions that are designed to foster a pro-job growth environment by reducing or eliminating the Administration's aggressive regulatory overreach. Some of these include:
o A provision prohibiting the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLA) for federal construction projects.
o A provision prohibiting the "Right to Know under the Fair Labor Standards Act" regulation that requires employers to meet excessive documentation requirements when hiring contractors.
o A provision that prohibits federal employees from participating in union activities while "on the clock" for their official duties.
o A provision prohibiting the implementation of the so-called "Persuader" regulation that would interfere with employers' access to specialized, legal counsel during union organizing campaigns.
o Several provisions related to the H-2A and H-2B Temporary Worker Visa Programs to reduce unnecessary regulations and costs to employers.
Health and Human Services -- The Department of Health and Human Services receives a total of $70.2 billion in new discretionary budget authority, which is $200 million below the last year's level and $2.8 billion (-4%) percent below the President's budget request.
* Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) -- The bill provides HRSA with $6.7 billion in new discretionary budget authority, which is $447 million above last year's level and $89 million below the President's budget request.
Within this total, Community Health Centers are funded at $2.6 billion -- an increase of $995 million over last year's level. However, the legislation also rescinds the $1.2 billion in funding provided for these centers under ObamaCare -- making the total funding for this program equal to last year's level -- and includes language to ensure that no health centers are closed.
The bill also provides a program level for health professions training of $605 million, a decrease of $208 million from last year. This includes $268 million for the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education program, which was eliminated in the President's request.
In addition, the bill includes $140 million for rural health programs, an increase of $2 million above last year, and eliminates funding for the Family Planning Program.
* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- The legislation includes $5.6 billion for the CDC -- a decrease of $52 million (-1%) below last year's level and $220 million (-3.7%) below the President's budget request. In addition, the bill includes a rescission of $1 billion for the Prevention and Public Health Fund provided by ObamaCare, and divides the CDC budget into several funding accounts in order to exercise tighter spending controls and increase transparency to Congress and the public.
* National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- The bill provides NIH with $31.7 billion in program funding, which is $1 billion (3.3%) over last year's level and the same as the request. In addition, the bill includes $193 million for the National Children's Study, $488 million for Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards, and $331 million for Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) programs. The funding level in the bill will support the request level of at least 9,150 new and competing research project grants, an increase of about 450 from the fiscal year 2011 projection.
* Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) -- The bill funds SAMHSA at $3.1 billion, which is $283 million (-8%) below last year's level and $290 million (-8.5%) below the President's budget request. Within this funding, criminal justice activities, such as drug courts, receive an increase of $3 million over last year for a total of $68 million, and the Substance Abuse Block Grant for states and localities receives $1.7 billion, an increase of $16 million. In addition, the bill divides SAMHSA's budget into several accounts to increase transparency and promote tighter spending controls.
* Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) -- The legislation contains $3.2 billion for CMS program management, which is $290 million (-8%) below last year's level and $1.2 billion below the President's request. The bill does not include additional funding to implement ObamaCare and prohibits funds for the new Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
* Administration for Children and Families (ACF) -- A discretionary program level of $16.4 billion is included in the bill for ACF, a decrease of $839 million (-4.8%) below last year's level and $217 million above the President's budget request. This funding includes:
o $3.4 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant, a decrease of $1.3 billion below last year and an increase of $822 million above the President's budget request.
o $2.2 billion -- the same as last year's level -- for the Child Care and Development Block Grant.
o $8.1 billion for Head Start, which is $540 million more than last year's level and the same as the President's request.
o $704 million for the Community Services Block Grant, an increase of $2 million above last year and $334 million above the President's budget request.
The bill also includes language that prohibits funding for the "Healthy Foods Financing" initiative.
* Administration on Aging (AoA) -- The legislation funds AoA at $1.5 billion, which is $26 million
(-2%) percent below last year's level and $766 million below the President's budget request. This funding includes $819 million, the same as the budget request, for nutrition programs. The bill does not provide funding for the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) program created by ObamaCare.
Department of Education -- The Department of Education is funded at $69 billion in the legislation, which is $2.4 billion (-3%) below last year's level and $11.5 billion (-14%) below the budget request. The bill eliminates more than 30 programs that are duplicative, inefficient, or unauthorized, including the Administration's "Race to the Top" program.
* Title I Program -- These basic grants to local school districts that help all children become proficient in reading and math are funded at $15.5 billion, which is $1 billion above last year's level.
* Pell Grants -- The maximum Pell Grant award is continued at $5,550. In addition, the bill includes reforms to the program to reduce costs by $3.6 billion in the next year alone. These reforms include: limiting the lifetime eligibility for Pell Grants to 6 years (down from 9 years); rolling back recent and unnecessary changes to the qualification formula; eliminating eligibility for students who attend school less than half time or students who do not have a high school diploma or GED; and better targeting the funding to the neediest students.
* Special Education -- Special Education grants to states are funded at $12.7 billion in the legislation -- an increase of $1.2 billion above last year's level. This will raise the federal percentage of special education funding from 16.1% to 17.3%, allowing states and communities to better fund required special education services.
Other Related Agencies --
* Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) -- The bill includes $280 million for CNCS, which will support the National Senior Volunteer Programs within CNCS, and provides funding for the orderly elimination of other programs.
* Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) -- The legislation does not provide an advance appropriation for CPB for fiscal year 2014, which is consistent with the budget resolution. The bill directs $6 million of the previously appropriated $445 million of advance funding to CPB for fiscal year 2012 to the "digitalization" program. In addition, the bill includes a provision to prohibit CPB funds to support National Public Radio (NPR), and requests a report from CPB on how to wean NPR off of federal funds by fiscal year 2014.
* National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) -- The bill includes $234 million for the NLRB -- a decrease of $49 million (-17%) below last year's level and $54 million (-19%) below the President's budget request. In addition, the legislation includes several provisions intended to stop the NLRB's harmful anti-business regulations that would impose additional and excessive costs on American businesses, increase job loss, and further hinder economic growth. These provisions include: a prohibition on establishing micro-unions; a prohibition on eliminating secret ballot elections; a prohibition on "quick-snap elections"; a prohibition on the implementation of "e-Card Check," which could promote coercion in union elections; and a prohibition on aggressive regulatory overreach on the small business community.
* Social Security Administration (SSA) -- The bill funds the SSA at $11 billion to administer SSA activities, which is $478 million above fiscal year 2011.
* Protecting Life -- The bill includes several provisions to protect life. These include continuations of longstanding restrictions on abortion funding that have been included in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations legislation in prior years. The legislation expands the Hyde Amendment to apply to funding provided through ObamaCare, includes language prohibiting funding for Planned Parenthood unless it certifies it will not provide abortions, and includes the text of the "Abortion Non-Discrimination Act." The bill also bans funding for needle exchange programs, a provision that had been included in the bill until fiscal year 2010.
* Defunding ObamaCare -- The bill includes a general provision to prohibit funding for ObamaCare until such time as all legal challenges to the law have been concluded, and rescinds a total of more than $8.6 billion in funding from ObamaCare programs.
To view the table comparing the agency spending levels within the fiscal year 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services Draft Appropriations Bill to the President's request and last year's levels, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/FY12_LHHS_Summary_Table.pdf