Legislative Update: Appropriations Bills Finalized and Passed in House

This week the final bill text and report language was released for all 12 Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bills. Read below to learn more about what this means for education and labor funding, and what comes next.  

Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Process Moves Forward

This week, there was movement forward for the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations process. On Monday, appropriators shared final language for all 12 appropriations bills that fund the government, including the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) bill. The 12 bills, totalling $1.4 trillion, were combined together into two spending bill packages, each referred to as a “minibus.” H.R. 1865 includes eight domestic and international appropriations bills: Labor-HHS-Ed, Agriculture, Energy and Water Development, Interior-Environment, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, State-Foreign Operations and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. The other, H.R. 1158, has four national security appropriations bills: Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce-Justice-Science and Financial Services. 

H.R. 1865 allocates $12.4 billion in discretionary appropriations to the U.S. Department of Labor, a $291 million increase over the FY19 level. The bill allocates $72.8 billion in discretionary appropriations to the U.S. Department of Education, a $1.3 billion increase over the FY19 level.

It also adds an increase of $20 million for CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State grants, for a total of $1.28 billion for FY20. Separately, $10 million for Career Pathways is included, with the intention of providing multiple pathways for learners to postsecondary and career success beginning in high school. 

The Labor-HHS-Ed bill include some notable increases for key education and workforce programs, such as: 

  • $40 million increase for Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • $30 million increase for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Grants. 
  • $15 million increase for registered apprenticeship programs.
  • $6,345 for the maximum Pell Grant award, an increase of $150 over current award levels.
  • $50 million increase for Federal Work Study. 
  • $163 million increase for higher education programs, including:
    • $93 million increase for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) including Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities. 
    • $30 million increase for Federal TRIO programs and a $5 million increase for GEAR UP.

A press release from House appropriators can be found here and press release from Senate appropriators can be found here. The full Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations bill can be found here, and the Labor-HHS-Ed report including explanations here

On Tuesday, the House passed the bills, sending them to the Senate for debate and votes. 

Currently, federal funding is operating through a short-term funding bill, or continuing resolution (CR), that is set to expire this Friday, December 20, 2019. This is the second CR of FY20.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

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