CHN: Select Highlights from the Senate Appropriations Bills
According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Labor – Health and Human Services – Education (Labor-H) spending bill would provide $20.1 billion for Title I grants to high-poverty schools, up $2.6 billion over FY22. This is short of the $20.5 billion provided in the House bill and well short of the $36.5 billion provided in President Biden’s proposed FY23 budget. The Senate bill would also boost the maximum Pell Grant amount by $500, matching an increase in the House bill. The Senate bill contains a provision, also in the House bill and president’s budget, to allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) participants to receive Pell Grants. Minority-serving institutions, including historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, and Hispanic-serving institutions, would receive $1.1 billion, a $219 million increase from current funding. Funding for federal TRIO programs would increase $138 million over FY22 to $1.3 billion, shy of the $161 million increase in the House bill and president’s budget.
Among the Department of Health and Human Services programs, the Senate bill provides $10.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), $2 billion more than last year’s funding and equal to the House proposal. Both Senate and House bills proposed $100 million for programs related to Social Determinants of Health, a substantial $92 million increase over last year’s funding. The Senate Democratic appropriators are proposing $7.2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, an increase of $1 billion or 16 percent, similar to the House bill; the president’s budget requested $7.6 billion. Head Start receives $12 billion in the Senate proposal, an increase of $1 billion or 9 percent, and $400 million less than the House version.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is funded at $9.1 billion in the Senate bill, $2.6 billion or nearly 40 percent higher than current year funding, in response to the continued alarming levels of substance use disorders as well as increasing need for mental health services related to the pandemic.
The Senate Labor-H bill would also provide $288 million for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to help enforce laws surrounding issues like the federal minimum wage and overtime pay, $25 million less than the House bill and roughly $20 million less than the president’s request. It also includes roughly $3 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants, an increase of $80 million over FY22. The House bill proposes a sizable increase of $256 million over current funding and $116 million above the president’s request. The Senate bill includes $4 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides heating and cooling assistance to about 6 million low-income households; this is an increase of $200 million over FY22 and is the same as the House bill.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Senate Transportation – Housing and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill provides $70 billion, including $10.3 billion in offsets, for HUD’s affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs – an increase of $4.3 billion over FY22-enacted levels but $3 billion less than the House bill and $1.9 billion less than the amount proposed in President Biden’s FY23 budget request. The House bill would expand rental assistance to 140,000 additional households, while President Biden requested expanding the program to serve 200,000 additional households; the Senate bill would only expand rental assistance up to 5,000 additional households. The Senate bill calls for $3.4 billion for the public housing capital fund, an increase of $17 million over the FY22 enacted level, but $265 million less than what was provided in the House bill, and $315 million less than the president’s request. The Senate bill proposes funding the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) at $1.73 billion, $50 million more than the House proposal but $225 million less than the president’s request, and $225 million above FY22 enacted levels. It would also provide $228 million to support affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities; this matches the president’s request but is $64 million less than FY22 levels and is $112 less than the amount provided in the House bill. For more information on housing programs in the appropriations bills, see this budget chart and House and Senate bill analyses from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
The Senate Commerce – Justice – Science bill includes $20 million less for the Census Bureau than the House bill, the president’s budget, and the request from advocates.
As previously mentioned, the Senate bills also included $850 billion in defense discretionary spending, an 8.7 percent increase over fiscal year 2022 (nearly double the 4.5 percent increase proposed in House Democrats’ spending bills, but in line with the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House). This is $37 billion more than President Biden’s $813 billion defense topline request, and includes spending the Pentagon did not ask for, such as over $4 billion more for ships. CHN signed a letter coordinated by the People Over the Pentagon campaign, which noted that handouts to the military-industrial complex come at the expense of funding to address urgent human needs.