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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

House Subcommittee Approves FY2016 Labor-HHS-Education Funding Bill

June 18, 2015 | Federal Budget | Comments
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Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education approved its annual funding bill for Fiscal Year 2016. The bill makes overall cuts of $3.7 billion, with the brunt of these spending reductions falling on the Department of Education. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration was largely spared, with a proposed funding increase of $23 million. The bill now heads to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.

The subcommittee’s bill included only limited detail on the proposed SAMHSA funding changes, including:

  • Center for Mental Health Services: $1.071 billion (+$3.059 million vs. 2015)
  • Center for Substance Abuse Treatment: $2.197 billion (+$15.537 million vs. 2015)
  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant: $1.8 billion (Level funding vs 2015)
  • Center for Substance Abuse Prevention: $190.2 million (+$15.071 million vs. 2015)
  • SAMHSA Health Surveillance and Program Support: $181.7 million (-$12.169 million vs. 2015)

Additional line-item details about the SAMHSA budget may become available during the next phases of the appropriation bill’s consideration.

Overall, the subcommittee approved a nearly $300 million increase for HHS, including an increase of $1.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health and an increase of $140 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet, other programs took severe hits; for example, the bill terminates funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The subcommittee is working within tight spending caps imposed under sequestration. This is the first time in three years that it has taken action on the Labor-HHS-Education bill, as the required magnitude of the cuts makes it politically problematic for subcommittee members to take tough votes. Subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has been vocal about the need to repeal or modify sequestration so as to take the pressure off programs funded during the annual appropriation process. Her comments were echoed today by Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), who called on President Obama to jump-start negotiations on ending sequestration.

The National Council continues to monitor Congressional appropriations activity. Next week, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education is holding hearing to markup and vote on its own version of this bill. Next week’s Capitol Connector will have more.