House Considers Labor-HHS Fiscal 2020 Spending Bill

Legislation | June 11, 2019 | by Andrea Price-Carter

The first fiscal 2020 funding package will have House floor consideration, beginning Wednesday, June 12. Members are expected to consider the first “minibus” which includes five spending bills: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education and Related Agencies (which is the largest of the 12 appropriations bills), Legislative Branch, Defense, State-Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development measures.

On June 12, the House will begin floor consideration of a “minibus” of several fiscal 2020 appropriations bills including the one for the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services (HHS). The Labor/HHS measure covers Older Americans Act programs, which pay for a wide range of home and community-based services. LeadingAge has advocated to maximize funding for Older Americans Act (OAA) programs, which help millions of low-income seniors, and people with disabilities. The House Appropriations Committee recommends the following funding levels:

 

  • $422 million for Home and Community-Based Supportive Services, a $37 million increase over current funding;
  • $1 billion for Senior Nutrition Services programs, a $93 million increase over current spending;
  • $200 million for family caregiver support, an increase of $26 million over this year;
  • $24 million for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect programs. The funding level represents an increase of $2 million to expand the reach of the ombudsman program to assisted living facilities.
  • $760 million for the Community Services Block Grants, which many states use to provide home and community-based services. This funding level represents an increase of $35 million.

 

House Appropriators also restored the $464 million funding level for the Department of Labor’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), the only federal program that provides job training and placement services for low-income older adults.

 

This appropriations measure faces several challenges -- the need for consensus among the two houses of Congress and the President on total spending levels for fiscal 2020, now less than four months away.