House Appropriations Committee Democrats Introduce FY 2015 Labor, HHS, and Education Bill

On September 15, the Democratic members of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee (Labor-HHS), led by Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), introduced their version of a fiscal year (FY) 2015 funding bill for the programs within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction. The Labor-HHS bill is the only appropriations bill that has yet to be considered by the full House Appropriations Committee. Thus far, the Subcommittee’s Republican majority has given no indication that it intends to introduce a Labor-HHS bill this year. This is the second consecutive year and third year out of the last four that the Subcommittee has not introduced the always contentious appropriations measure. It is very unlikely that the Democratic measure will be considered by the Subcommittee. The House and Senate recently passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through December 11, 2014, postponing consideration of any funding bills until after the midterm elections.

A summary of the bill released by DeLauro’s office stresses that it “demonstrates House Democrats’ support for job training, biomedical research, public health, education, child care, and equal pay.” It further highlights a $6.8 billion reduction in allocation to these programs since 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The bill “ensures that funding for virtually every education, health and labor program is returned to at least pre-sequester funding.” It comports with the full House Appropriations subcommittee allocation of $155 billion, which is $1.1 billion below current funding levels.

According to a summary table, the measure would provide $30.6 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a slight increase of $778 million and 2.6 percent above the FY 2014 funding level. The Senate version of the bill would provide $30.5 billion for the NIH. The National Children’s Study (NCS) would receive $165 million, the same funding level provided in FY 2014. The NIH director, however, would have until July 15, 2015, to provide the Congress with an estimate of any funds in excess of the estimated need. The unneeded funding will be transferred to and merged with the accounts for the various Institutes and Centers in proportion to their shares of total NIH appropriations. The measure would provide $564 million for the NIH Common Fund.

For the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the bill would provide $7.1 billion, an increase of $244 million above the current funding levels. It includes increases in the CDC’s budget for initiatives addressing global health security, prescription drug overdose, food safety, gun violence and cancer prevention. The Democrats’ bill would allocate $373.3 to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the same amount proposed in the Labor-HHS bill passed by the Senate Subcommittee and a slight increase over FY 2014.

The bill would provide $585 million to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) for FY 2015. This amount is $6 million more than is included in the Senate version of the bill and would be an $8.1 million increase over FY 2014. The measure would also provide $8.9 billion for the Head Start program.

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