On Wednesday, September 21st, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed by party line vote the FY 2012 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education spending bill. The measure includes a program level of $165.4 billion for fiscal year 2012.
The bill provides discretionary program level funding of $12.69 billion for the Department of Labor, $70.18 billion for the Department of HHS, $68.43 billion for the Department of Education and $14.09 billion for related agencies. The comparable fiscal year 2011 levels were $12.66 billion for Labor, $70.44 billion for HHS, $68.35 billion for Education and $13.83 billion for related agencies.
This bill eliminates 15 programs totaling more than $260 million, a significant portion of which came from eliminating the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, currently funded at $80 million. The measure reduces funding for dozens more, after 46 programs totaling $1.3 billion were eliminated last year.
All other programs within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion were funded at the FY 2011 level. However, there were some programs that received a significant boost in funding as a result of Prevention Fund dollars including Tobacco, a $100 million in PPH Fund dollars ($50 million over the 2011 PPH level), Community Transformation Grants received $280 million ($135 million over the 2011 PPH level), and REACH received $50 million in PPH funding ($25 million over the 2011 PPH level) and one program, DNPAO appears to be $10 million less due to realignment of the PPHF dollars.
The end game for FY 2012 spending bills is clear as mud. As of September 22nd, the House is unable to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund all government agencies at the FY 2011 level through mid-November due to objections from conservative Republicans and some Democrats on overall spending levels and funding for disaster relief. They will have to complete a CR by September 30th or there will be a government shutdown.
Given that Senate Republicans on the Appropriations Committee objected to both the funding level and use of mandatory spending from health care reform in the Senate Committee-passed Labor, HHS bill, it is doubtful the bill will see the light of day on the Senate floor. The House has been unable to even get its bill out of subcommittee because they do not that the votes to do so. We will have to continue to keep you posted on progress, or the lack thereof, in the coming days and weeks.
David P. Hoffman M.Ed. C.C.E.
Director, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Restructuring and Partnership
Office of Long Term Care
State of New York, Department of Health