Last Updated November 17, 2016
Where Things Stand
Last fall, Congress passed and the President signed a two-year budget deal, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA). In part, the agreement allows for an additional $80 billion in discretionary dollars in fiscal years 2016 and 2017, effectively eliminating some of the harmful sequester cuts to programs and services that support the communities, individuals, and families LSA members serve. However, the BBA does not include enough sequester relief to increase funding for all of the programs that are subject to it, and we don’t yet know what programs will see increases in FY17, which began on October 1, 2016. That’s because it’s up to Congress to make these decisions through the annual appropriations process, which is currently underway. With a stopgap measure in place until after the November elections, now is the time to weigh in with your lawmakers! Join LSA in urging Congress to prioritize, protect, and strengthen critical non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs in FY17.
LSA Appropriations Charts
FY17 Administration for Community Living | FY17 Administration for Children and Families | FY17 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration | FY17 Corporation for National and Community Service | FY17 Department of Housing and Urban Development
Republicans to Push Final FY17 Spending Decisions Into Next Year
November 17, 2016 – Earlier today, House Republicans announced their intent to pass a short-term CR to fund federal programs through March 2017. The strategy comes at the request of President-elect Trump’s transition team, seeking to give the Administration some say in the current fiscal year’s spending decisions.
While the maneuver will allow Republicans to take advantage of the newly unified Congress and White House, it is not without risk. In part, the Trump administration is said to be hoping to move rapidly next year on a key priorities, including addressing the ACA, immigration reform, and passing a major infrastructure bill. These goals will require a tremendous amount of work and political capital; having to manage another spending bill early in the administration could prove to be a distraction. Additionally, the timing of the stopgap could infuse the deferred spending debate with the debt ceiling - set to be breached in the spring - leaving some concerned the debt ceiling negotiations could complicate funding talks next year. These dynamics and more will be the subject of future LSA analysis, as we seek to better understand the implications of the 2016 Elections on programs of importance for LSA members and those you serve.
Lame Duck Session Begins, FY17 Funding Strategy Uncertain
November 14, 2016 – This week, lawmakers returned to Washington to wrap up the 114th Congress. Their top priority in this lame duck session was always to fund the federal government beyond December 9, when the CR passed in September is set to expire. Less clear, however, is whether appropriators will seek to finalize FY17 funding this year, or pursue another stopgap, leaving final spending decisions to the next Congress and Administration. The outcome of the recent elections – in which Republicans swept control of Congress and the White House – is expected to play a role in lawmakers’ decision how to proceed.
Congress Avoids Shutdown, Reaches Short-term Funding Deal
October 3, 2016 - With two days before the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year, the Senate and House approved a 10-week spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), that will fund federal government operations through December 9. Congress immediately left town after passing the CR, and is not expected to return until the week after the November 8 elections. At that point, Congressional leaders and the White House will have to determine how to wrap up the 11 remaining fiscal 2017 appropriations bills, solve disputes that bogged down negotiations over the continuing resolution, and merge the vastly different spending bills that emerged from the House and Senate committees.
Congress Likely to Take Up Stopgap Spending Measure This Fall
July 18, 2016 – Last week, Congress left DC for a seven-week recess without passing any of the 12 spending bills necessary to fund the government in FY17, which begins on October 1. With lawmakers not set to return until after Labor Day, a Continuing Resolution (CR) will almost certainly be necessary to avoid a government shutdown this fall. Top lawmakers are already at odds over the issue, and have been debating whether to write a short-term spending measure that runs into December’s lame-duck session, or a longer six-month stopgap that would expire under a new Congress and President. Congress ultimately pushed funding bills into March in 2008 and 2012, the last years with presidential elections. Read more from Politico.
House Appropriators Approve FY17 Labor-HHS-Ed Spending Bill
July 14, 2016 – Today, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY17 spending bill to fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The markup unexpectedly stretched over two days, and more than 30 amendments were considered. Despite Committee approval, the bill isn’t likely to go far. It would likely pass the House should it come up for a vote, but controversial provisions – such as those that would defund the Affordable Care Act – would be more than enough to stop Senate Democrats from supporting the measure. The bill summary and text are available here, and LSA’s Appropriations Charts have been updated to reflect the House bill. Read more from Morning Consult.
House Appropriations Committee to Consider FY17 Labor-HHS Bill
July 8, 2016 - Today, the House appropriations Committee announced its intent to mark up of the Subcommittee-approved FY17 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill. The hearing will take place on Wednesday, July 13 at 10:00 AM Eastern. It will be live-streamed here.
Partisan House Labor-HHS Bill Approved by Subcommittee
July 7, 2016 – Today, the House Subcommittee approved a draft FY17 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill. However, the path forward for the bill - which contains a number of divisive policy priorities championed by Republicans and opposed by Democrats - is bleak. While Republicans in the House could pass the bill, it would not meet the 60-vote threshold in the Senate, where the full Appropriations Committee has already approved its own bipartisan version of the bill. Read more from Morning Consult.
House Appropriators Release Draft FY17 Labor-HHS Spending Bill
July 6, 2016 – Earlier today, House appropriators released the draft text of their FY17 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The House majority’s press release is available here, and the draft text is here. The hearing will begin at 9:45 AM Eastern time, and will be live streamed here.
House Subcommittee to Consider FY17 Labor-HHS Spending Bill after July 4 Recess
July 1, 2016 – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies has scheduled a markup of its to-be-released FY17 spending bill for Thursday, July 7, at 9:45 AM Eastern. The hearing will be live-streamed here.
Full Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Labor-HHS-Education Funding Bill
June 9, 2016 – Senate appropriators on Thursday approved the fiscal 2017 Labor-HHS-Education bill (S. 3040), which received largely bipartisan support for the first time in seven years. Lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 29-1 in favor of the bill, which would provide $161.9 billion in discretionary funding. That would be $270 million less than the current enacted level. The appropriators prioritized funding for medical research, working under a tight spending cap to propose a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health for a total annual appropriations of $34 billion. The bill must now be approved by the full Senate. The archived hearing and bill text is available here on the Senate Appropriations Committee's website.
Senate Subcommittee Advances FY17 Labor, HHS & Education Appropriations Bill
June 7, 2016 – The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee today approved a FY17 funding bill for the US Departments of Health & Human Services, Labor, Education, and Related Agencies. The measure provides $161.9 billion in base discretionary spending, which is $270 million below the FY16 level, and $2 billion below the President’s budget request. The bill will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. View the archived hearing here, and read more from the Senate Appropriations Committee.
House Appropriations Committee Passes FY17 THUD Spending Bill
May 24, 2016 - The House Committee on Appropriations approved its FY17 THUD spending bill by a voice vote today. In part, the bill would increase funding for homeless assistance programs; provide level funding for public housing, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Community Development Block Grant program, and the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program; and increase funding for the Section 202 and Section 811 programs. The full House is expected to consider the Committee-approved bill in June, perhaps as early as the week of June 6. If the House moves quickly to approve the bill, it appears likely that the two chambers will attempt to negotiate and approve a final bill before Congress adjourns in mid-July for the party conventions and August recess – well in advance of the October 1 beginning of the fiscal year – a goal that Congress has not achieved in many years. Read more from NLIHC.
Senate Passes FY17 THUD Spending Bill
May 20, 2016 - Yesterday, the Senate approved a spending package (HR.2577), which includes the FY2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act, the FY2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Act, and $1.1 billion for medical and public health preparedness and response capabilities related to the Zika virus. The legislation was approved by a vote of 89-8. LSA supported passage of the bill that includes no significant funding cuts, ensures households currently served by HUD programs will continue to receive assistance, and protects the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. Read more from NLIHC.
House Subcommittee Advances FY17 THUD Spending Bill
May 19, 2016 –The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) approved its FY17 spending bill on May 18 by a voice vote. Much like the Senate version of the bill, the House proposal is better than expected and should provide sufficient funding to ensure continued assistance to all households currently served by HUD. House appropriators were able to avoid major cuts and increased funding for a few programs. The full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to debate the bill on May 24. Read more from NLIHC.
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY17 THUD Spending Bill
April 22, 2016 - The Senate Committee on Appropriations passed its FY17 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) funding bill on April 21 by unanimous consent, 30 to 0. The Appropriations THUD Subcommittee had approved the bill on April 19. The Committee sailed through consideration of the bill, voting on only one bipartisan package of amendments primarily concerned with non-binding report language. The bill can now go to the Senate floor, perhaps as early as this week. Read more from NLIHC.
Senate Releases FY17 302(b) Allocations
April 14, 2016 - Despite not having a budget resolution setting a topline spending amount for FY17, the Senate Appropriations Committee has moved ahead and released funding allocations for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees, otherwise known as 302(b) allocations. Senate appropriators assumed that the topline number for spending in FY17 would be $1.07 trillion, the amount agreed to in last year’s budget deal. Senate 302(b) allocations are available here.
House Committee Approves FY17 Budget Resolution; Next Steps Uncertain
March 21, 2016 - On March 16, the House Budget Committee advanced a budget resolution in mid-March, with all Democrats and two Republicans opposed. The document provided for $1.07 trillion in discretionary spending accompanied by a provision calling for at least $30 billion in mandatory cuts over two years and at least $140 billion over a decade. However, the roughly 40-member Freedom Caucus vowed to oppose the budget on the chamber floor, leaving Republican leaders scrambling for a way to consolidate GOP support behind the fiscal framework before bringing it up for a vote by the full House. The conservatives took issue with the top-line spending number, arguing that Republicans should go back to the $1.04 trillion level under automatic spending cuts known as sequestration that were set in 2011. Read more from the Wall Street Journal.
House Leadership Unveils FY17 Budget Blueprint
March 15, 2016 - The House Budget Committee on Tuesday unveiled a plan they said would eliminate federal deficits over 10 years through cutting federal spending by $6.5 trillion over that period, largely by overhauling federal safety-net programs and repealing the Affordable Care Act.According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the House budget, like its predecessors over the past few years, is shaped in large part by two fiscal policy goals: balancing the budget over ten years, which requires more than $6 trillion in policy savings (not counting the related interest savings), and doing so without raising any new revenue. By adhering to these goals, the House Republican budget relies on deep and damaging spending cuts and imposes particularly severe cuts in programs to help vulnerable Americans. Read more from CBPP.
Senate Republicans Postpone Budget Resolution, Likely Indefinitely
March 7, 2016 - In the Senate, Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi recently announced that the Budget Committee would effectively abandon a fiscal 2017 budget resolution. A provision in the October budget deal allows Enzi to simply file the spending toplines under the agreement and give Senate appropriators the go-ahead to craft spending bills that reflect the higher budget caps. No such provision is available to the House. Skipping a full fiscal framework would enable senators up for re-election in November 2016 to dodge contentious votes on a budget proposal. But it also could take off the table the potential for using the expedited reconciliation process, which allows the Senate to consider budget-related and potentially deficit-reducing legislation without the 60 votes usually needed to invoke cloture and take up legislation. Read more from Morning Consult.
LSA Analysis: The Administration's FY17 Budget Request to Congress
February 16, 2016 - On February 9 2016, President Obama submitted his final budget request to Congress. The Administration’s plan includes funding requests for all federal executive departments and independent agencies for fiscal year 2017 (FY17), which begins October 1, 2016. The President's budget is non-binding on lawmakers, and is not expected to gain much traction during an election year in a Republican-controlled Congress. However, it is a helpful policy and advocacy tool, as it outlines the fiscal, regulatory, and legislative priorities of federal agencies, which will be important both throughout and beyond the current budget cycle. LSA's analysis of the FY17 budget request includes agency and content-specific breakdowns of the proposed funding levels, with a focus on initiatives of importance to LSA members. Our full report is available here.
LSA Analysis: The 2016 State of the Union Address
January 19, 2016 - On January 12, 2016, President Obama delivered his last State of the Union (SOTU) address to Congress. Though Presidents often use the annual address as an opportunity to highlight their Administration’s policy goals for the coming year, President Obama’s eighth and final SOTU served less as a ‘laundry list’ of plans and more as his vision for the future. However, there were clear policy ideas embedded in the speech, some of which are likely to be reflected in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request to Congress, as well as the White House’s 2016 legislative agenda. To provide both a preview of and context for the Administration's fiscal and policy priorities in 2016, LSA has prepared a summary of the SOTU, with an emphasis on the provisions that intersect with our members, their priorities, and those they serve. Please click here to find our analysis, which focuses on the speech language and underlying Administration policies in the following areas: Health, Economic Security, Refugees and Immigration, Criminal Justice, and Education.
FY16 Appropriations Process Draws to a Close
December 18, 2015 - House leaders released the FY16 omnibus in the early hours of December 16, 2015, and by noon on December 18, it had cleared Congress, with the president signing it hours later. The $1.15 trillion measure provides fresh line-by-line guidance to every agency through September 30, 2016. For more information on what’s in the omnibus and what’s not, see these summaries from House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans, or the bill text.