The House Appropriations Committee marked up the FY2019 education and health funding bill on Wednesday, July 11, after a 13-hour session. The FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS) Appropriations Act sets funding levels for all federal education, human services, and health and labor programs—including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, which provides federal funds leveraged by local school-community partnerships to provide quality afterschool and summer learning programs to 1.7 million children.
The Committee voted to approve the House LHHS FY2019 spending bill by a party line vote after a number of passionate debates were held related to the status and treatment of migrant children and families, women’s reproductive health and family planning options, and the distribution of federal funds related to faith-based organizations. The panel adopted 18 amendments, with 14 coming from Democrats and another four offered by Republicans.
The bill maintains the full current $1.212 billion funding level for 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning programs. The Subcommittee rejected the Trump administration’s FY2019 budget proposal that would have eliminated 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Parents, program providers, students, and advocates all reached out this year to members of Congress in support of afterschool programs by participating in more than 200 meetings with congressional offices and sending more than 31,100 emails and calls. Additionally, 600 organizations signed a letter in support of 21st Century Community Learning Centers and more than 140 representatives and senators called for increased 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding. This impressive outreach is a sign that the field of afterschool supporters is broad, dedicated, and passionate about the cause of afterschool — we must keep up the good work!
In total, the bill includes $177.1 billion in discretionary funding, essentially the same as the FY2018 enacted level. Appropriators largely ignored the White House’s proposal for funding including a number of several significant program eliminations at the Department of Education (ED). Committee lawmakers adopted an amendment from Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) that maintained current funding levels of $90 million for the School Safety National Activities program, restoring what would have been a $47 million cut to the program. A common theme throughout the markup process was the need for additional funding for Education, Workforce Training, and Health and Human Services programs that were not adequately supported due to the low allocation provided to the LHHS Subcommittee for the bill in FY2019.
Budget breakdown in detail
The bill would fund the Department of Education at nearly $71 billion, which is $100 million above the FY2018 enacted level. Federal programs that support afterschool and summer learning were included in the bill, following the trend of continued bipartisan support for programs that inspire young people, keep children safe, and give parents peace of mind:
The bill also includes $3.85 billion to address substance use, including opioid and heroin abuse, which is $36 million above the FY2018 enacted level and $1.75 billion above the president’s 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. Nothing in the legislation provides for Trump's proposed merger of the Education and Labor Departments.
The appropriations process has reached the halfway mark. The next stop for the House LHHS FY2019 spending bill is the House floor for passage, likely attached to one or more FY2019 appropriations bills in a ‘mini-bus’ package, although the timing for that remains unclear.
The Senate passed their FY19 LHHS spending bill through subcommittee and full committee in late June. The 2018 fiscal year expires on September 30, and Congress is supposed to have all its appropriations bills passed and sent to the president’s desk by that date; however, in past years Congress has not been able to make this deadline and instead has passed one or more continuing resolutions temporarily funding the government until final spending bills can be completed. It is still likely a continuing resolution will be needed again this year with final spending decisions made this fall or early winter.
Take action: Send a message to your representatives
This year tens of thousands of parents and advocates have reached out to Congress in support of federal afterschool funding. As the appropriations process continues, it is imperative that senators and representatives hear from those in their states and districts about the value of federal afterschool funding in supporting local programs. Reach out to your members of Congress today in support of funding for afterschool and summer learning programs.
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