The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. 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 $150 billion in discretionary funding, which is a cut of $6.3 billion below last year's level and $8.8 billion below the President's budget request. This funding level is more than $2 billion below the amount provided in fiscal year 2009.
In addition to spending cuts to various ineffective, unnecessary, or lower-priority programs, the legislation contains several policy provisions to promote good government and economic growth. These provisions will help reduce harmful and unnecessary regulations that tie the hands of employers and undermine job creation, ensure the protection and respect of human life, and limit bureaucratic overreach. The legislation also defunds many ObamaCare programs, and prohibits any new discretionary funding for ObamaCare.
"This legislation reflects our strong commitment to reduce over-regulation and unnecessary, ineffective spending that feeds the nation's deficits and hampers economic growth. A careful look was given to all programs and agencies in the bill, with the budget knife aimed at excess spending and underperforming programs, but also with the goal of making wise investments in programs that help the American people the most," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
Defunding ObamaCare -- The legislation contains several provisions to stop the implementation of ObamaCare -- including rescinding prior-year mandatory funds, as well as prohibiting the use of any new discretionary funding to implement ObamaCare. In all, these provisions will save American taxpayers $8.6 billion this year alone, and will result in a savings of $123 billion over the next five years.
Protecting Life -- The bill contains several provisions to protect life, including continuations of all longstanding restrictions on abortion funding that have been included in the legislation in prior years. The legislation also contains language prohibiting funding for Planned Parenthood unless it certifies it will not provide abortions, a provision ensuring "conscience protections" for religious and charitable organizations, and the text of the "Abortion Non-Discrimination Act."
Department of Labor (DoL) -- The bill provides $12 billion for the Department of Labor, which is $497 million below last year's level and $72 million below the President's request.
Employment Training Administration (ETA) -- The legislation provides the ETA with $10.6 billion -- a decrease of $269 million (-3%) below last year's level and an increase of $174.8 million (2%) above the President's request. This increase is largely the result of a denial of the President's proposal to transfer $448 million for the Community Service Employment for Older Americans program to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Job Corps -- The bill provides $1.7 billion for the Office of Job Corps, which is $20 million below last year's level and $33 million above the President's request. This program helps unemployed young Americans receive education, job training, and employment assistance. This funding will provide for the operation of 126 Job Corp centers in 2013.
Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) -- The bill provides $262 million for VETS, which is $3 million above the President's request. This supports the Administration's request to eliminate the $15 million Veterans Workforce Investment Program due to the duplication of these services under the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. The bill also provides $3 million above the request for the Transition Assistance Program, often the first line of training and job search assistance provided to transitioning service members seeking suitable civilian employment.
Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) -- MSHA is funded at $372 million in the legislation, virtually the same as last year's level and the budget request. The legislation also includes a prohibition on funding for MSHA to continue the development or the implementation of a coal mine dust regulation.
Reducing Harmful Red Tape -- The legislation includes several provisions designed to help U.S. businesses create jobs and grow the economy by reducing or eliminating overly burdensome government regulations. Some of these include:
* A provision prohibiting the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLA) for federal construction projects.
* 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.
* A provision prohibiting the implementation of a expensive and inefficient one-size-fits-all injury and illness prevention program, eliminating costly burdens on businesses large or small.
* A provision prohibiting the implementation of new H-2B Program regulations to reduce unnecessary requirements and excessive costs to participating employers.
* A provision prohibiting the continued development of the so-called "Companionship Exemption" regulation, which will simultaneously save jobs while maintaining the quality of services provided by in-home care providers to the elderly, the infirm, and those otherwise unable to care for themselves.
Health and Human Services -- The Department of Health and Human Services receives a total of $68.3 billion, a reduction of $1.3 billion below last year's level and $1.8 billion below the President's budget request.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) -- The bill provides HRSA with $5.9 billion in new discretionary budget authority, which is $453 million below last year's level and $315 million below the President's budget request.
Within this total, Community Health Centers are funded at $1.5 billion -- the same as last year's level. This includes a rescission of $300 million in previous-year funding that was provided under ObamaCare for this program.
The bill also provides $623 million in total funding for health professions training, including $275 million for the Children's Hospital Graduate Medical Education program. The President requested only $88 million for this essential program. In addition, the bill includes $139 million for rural health programs, an increase of $1.4 million above last year, and eliminates funding for the Family Planning Program.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- The legislation includes an appropriation level of $5.75 billion for the CDC -- $66 million above the fiscal year 2012 level. Further, the bill allows for an additional $126.5 million for the CDC by reducing the ability of HHS to divert funds away from CDC programs.
The bill increases funding for Public Health Preparedness and Response by $84 million over last year's level to ensure the Strategic National Stockpile and State and Local Preparedness capacity is adequate. These programs provide supplies and response efforts in the event of a bio-terror attack or pandemic disease emergency.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- The bill includes $30.6 billion for the NIH, which is equal to both last year's level and the President's request. Within this funding, the legislation includes $175 million for the National Children's Study, $488 million for Clinical and Translational Sciences Awards, and $376 million for Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) programs.
This funding will support 16,670 training research awards -- the pipeline of support for future researchers. The legislation also includes language to ensure the NIH support only research projects that are highly meritorious, based on peer review processes, and that continue the agency's historical unbiased position toward specific diseases.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) -- The bill funds SAMHSA at $3.1 billion, which is $194 million below last year's level and $1.2 million above the President's budget request. Within this funding, criminal justice activities, such as drug courts, receive an increase of $5 million over last year for a total of $72.3 million, and the Substance Abuse Block Grant for states and localities receives $1.73 billion, an increase of $10 million.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) -- The recommendation provides $3.5 billion for CMS management and operations ("Program Management"), which is $409 million below the fiscal year 2012 enacted level and $1.4 billion below the budget request. The bill does not include additional funding to implement ObamaCare programs and prohibits funds for the new Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
Administration for Children and Families (ACF) -- The bill provides $16.37 billion in discretionary funds for ACF, which is $111 million below last year's level and $192 million above the President's budget request. This funding includes:
* $3.4 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant, which is the same as last year's level and an increase of $451 million above the President's budget request.
* $2.3 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which is $25 million more than last year's level.
* $8 billion for Head Start -- $45.5 million more than last year's level.
* $712 million for the Community Services Block Grant, which is the same as last year's level and $332 million above the President's budget request.
The bill also includes language prohibiting funding for the "Healthy Foods Financing" initiative.
Administration on Aging (AoA) -- The legislation funds AoA at $1.4 billion -- $30 million below last year's level and $537 million below the President's budget request. This funding includes $816 million for nutrition programs, the same as the request.
Department of Education -- The bill funds the Department of Education at $70 billion, which is $1.1 billion below last year's level and $2.9 billion below the budget request. The bill eliminates many duplicative, inefficient, or unauthorized education programs, including the Administration's "Race to the Top" program. The bill also includes limitations that prohibit the Department of Education from moving forward with regulations that define "gainful employment" and "credit hour," or dictates on how states must license institutions of higher education.
Title I Program -- These basic grants to local school districts that help all children become proficient in reading and math are funded at $15 billion, which is the same as last year's level.
Pell Grants -- The maximum Pell Grant award is increased to $5,635, due to an authorized mandatory cost-of-living adjustment.
Special Education -- Special Education grants to states are funded at $12.1 billion in the legislation -- an increase of $500 million above last year's level. This will provide a small increase in the federal share of special education funding to the states, allowing better funding of required special education services.
Other Related Agencies --
* Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) -- The bill includes $271 million for CNCS, which will support the National Senior Volunteer Programs within CNCS. This funding will also provide for the orderly elimination of other CNCS programs.
* Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) -- The CPB has been funded through advance appropriations in previous years. This year, the bill does not provide an advance appropriation for CPB for fiscal year 2015, which is consistent with the budget resolution. To encourage CPB to operate exclusively on private funds, the bill rescinds $111.3 million of the fiscal year 2013 advanced appropriation, and $222.5 million of the fiscal year 2014 advanced appropriation.
* National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) -- The bill includes $258.3 million for the NLRB -- a decrease of $20 million (-7.2%) below last year's level and $34.5 million (-12%) 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"; and a prohibition on the implementation of "e-Card Check" which could promote coercion in union elections.
* Social Security Administration (SSA) -- The bill includes $10.7 billion to administer SSA activities, which is $287 million below fiscal year 2012.