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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

House Poised to Pass 2015 “Cromnibus” Spending Package

December 11, 2014 | Federal Budget | Comments
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As of late Thursday morning, a $1.014 trillion spending bill that will fund most of the government through September looked headed for passage in the House despite complaints from members of both parties about certain provisions included in the bill. The spending bill comes just in the nick of time to avert a government shutdown that would occur at midnight tonight without congressional action. The bill largely maintains 2014 funding levels, though some agencies (including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) would see small cuts.

Among the highlights of the bill are:

  • $3.619 million in top-line funding for SAMHSA, a $9.9 million reduction from 2014
  • $1.819 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, level to 2014
  • $482.6 million for the Mental Health Block Grant, a $1.2 million reduction from 2014
  • $15 million for Mental Health First Aid, level to 2014
  • $49.9 million for Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration, a $100,000 reduction from 2014

The National Council is compiling a full list of proposed funding changes; stay tuned to next week’s Capitol Connector for more details.

The bicameral agreement, dubbed the “cromnibus” because it combines elements of both an omnibus bill and a continuing resolution, was crafted by House Republican and Senate Democratic negotiators but has run into opposition from both sides. About 50-60 Republicans are expected to vote against the bill because it does not go far enough to block President Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration. Meanwhile, some Democrats will oppose the spending measure because it includes several controversial policy riders (such as rolling back current banking regulations that protect taxpayers against bank losses and raising the limits on campaign contributions to national political parties).

Those involved in the negotiations over the bill have said they’re not reopening negotiations, have expressed confidence that the bill will pass the House without any further changes – even if by the slimmest of margins. Senate Appropriations Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is standing by the deal, saying that Democrats beat back dozens of other provisions that Republicans had sought, such as a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Although House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) opposes the banking provision, she reportedly has stopped short of urging fellow House Democrats to vote against the bill.

The Senate is not likely to be able to take action on the spending bill before the midnight deadline for the expiration of government funds. Thus, the House is expected to move a two-day continuing resolution that will continue funding the government until the Senate has time to vote.