For the first time in some time, states will see notable increases in many discretionary grant programs in fiscal year (FY) 2018, and almost no funding reductions. In the wake of the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2018 (BBA), which raised discretionary spending caps under the Budget Control Act (see Budget Brief 18-04), Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-141). The bill was signed on March 23, the expiration date of the fifth continuing resolution that had provided FY 2018 funding absent appropriations.
The omnibus is notable for reasons beyond its generous spending. It also creates new grant programs that target funds to areas of congressional interest. The most prominent of these are opioid abuse, infrastructure, school violence, and lead in drinking water.
This Budget Brief describes funding and policy provisions in the omnibus that are relevant to states. Table 1 lists funding for selected grant programs. Compared to FY 2017, states will see a 9% increase in the discretionary programs included on the table; mandatory programs are estimated to increase 3%.
The president’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget was released on February 12, 2018, just three days after enactment of legislation that reset discretionary spending caps for both FY 2018 and FY 2019. Accordingly, the president’s budget proposed less discretionary spending than the new caps allow, and an addendum was released to stake a claim to some of—but not all—the additional resources.
This Budget Brief highlights significant provisions of the proposed budget, and incorporates spending requested in the budget addendum.
In the early hours of February 9, Congress passed a fifth continuing resolution (CR) for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which the president signed. This CR—the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2018 (P.L. 115-123)—extends funding for six weeks, through March 23. Running more than 600 pages, it incorporates a plethora of policy changes, many of which are important for states. This brief summarizes these provisions, including:
- Increasing the discretionary spending caps
- Extending mandatory sequestration
- Providing additional disaster assistance
- Suspending the debt limit
- Creating a committee on budget process reform
- Extending, implementing, or reauthorizing certain health and human services programs
- Incorporating a host of tax extenders and modifications
- Offsetting a portion of the new spending provided in the bill with cuts and changes to other programs
While not part of the legislative language, an informal agreement was reached as part of the BBA negotiations, under which increased funding for non-defense discretionary programs would be targeted to specific priorities in FY 2018 and FY 2019, including:
- Opioids and mental health ($3 billion/year)
- Infrastructure ($10 billion/year)
- Child care ($2.9 billion/year)
- Veterans’ health ($2 billion/year)
- Higher education ($2 billion/year)
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH, $1 billion/year)
After a three-day federal government shutdown, Congress passed—and the president signed—a fourth continuing resolution (CR) for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The CR (H.R. 195):
keeps the federal government operating through February 8, 2018
reimburses states for costs incurred for operating federal programs during the shutdown (this provision also applies to future funding lapses in FY 2018 should they occur)
extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and related programs through FY 2023
suspends the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurer tax for calendar year (CY) 2019 (the tax will still be in effect in CY 2018)
The federal government is just hours away from a potential shutdown. Should that occur, state officials will have questions about their ability to operate federal grant programs in the absence of a current appropriation. The answers to those questions vary by program.
FFIS Budget Brief 17-21 provides answers to many such general questions, and the FFIS website includes additional materials from federal sources. This brief provides targeted summary information about some of the largest programs.
This brief identifies key issues that must be resolved before a final budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018 can be enacted. It also highlights other issues that will require congressional attention in the coming weeks and months, outlines the FY 2019 budget process, and identifies potential congressional priorities in 2018.
Congress approved—and the president signed—a third continuing resolution (CR) for fiscal year (FY) 2018 that will keep the federal government operating until January 19, 2018. The CR:
- appropriates short-term mandatory funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Community Health Centers, and a few other programs
- prevents the new tax law from triggering mandatory spending cuts
- rescinds $750 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund in FYs 2019-2022
- maintains the -0.6791% across-the-board (ATB) rescission for most discretionary programs included in earlier CRs
This Budget Brief highlights key provisions of the CR. Table 1 shows annualized funding for major grants under it.
Congress has adopted a fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution allowing $1.5 trillion in tax cuts with a simple majority in the Senate, using a budget process known as reconciliation.
However, according to a report from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a tax reform package of this magnitude could run afoul of a different budget process, known as statutory pay-as-you-go, or PAYGO. Under statutory PAYGO, a major tax cut could trigger sequestration of non-exempt mandatory programs by an amount so large that it would effectively eliminate most of these programs altogether. Waiving this sequestration would require a three-fifths vote in the Senate.
This Budget Brief summarizes CRFB’s report, and lists mandatory programs that could potentially be affected.
On October 26, the House passed a fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution, setting spending targets for the fiscal year that began October 1, and establishing reconciliation directives for comprehensive tax reform.
The Senate passed the resolution on October 19, after replacing the original House language with its own. The House accepted the Senate resolution without amendment. Budget resolutions do not become law, and are not signed by the president, so the resolution is now in effect as the FY 2018 concurrent budget resolution.
This Budget Brief highlights major provisions of the resolution in the context of the FY 2018 budget process.
The Senate appropriations committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education appropriations bill on September 7. The House appropriations committee approved its version earlier this summer, and subsequently incorporated it into an omnibus spending package, which passed last week. This brief summarizes funding and other provisions of interest included in both the Senate and House bills.
The House and Senate have approved a continuing resolution (CR) for fiscal year (FY) 2018 that would keep the federal government operating through December 8, 2017. The CR is part of a package (H.R. 601) that includes $15 billion for hurricane response efforts and a temporary suspension of the debt limit, also through December 8.
The CR imposes a -0.6791% across-the-board (ATB) rescission for most discretionary programs. It extends the National Flood Insurance Program through December 8. However, it does not address other funding set to expire September 30, including the Airport Improvement Program, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other mandatory health and human services programs.
This Budget Brief highlights key provisions of the CR, and provides details on hurricane relief. Table 1 compares funding for major grants under the CR to current and proposed levels.
Fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been approved by the House appropriations committee and combined with seven other bills in an eight-bill “minibus”; the Senate has not yet acted. The House rejects many of the president’s proposals, including the one to implement a 25% state match for the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) and the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). This brief summarizes provisions of note in the House bill.
On July 12, the House appropriations committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2018 agriculture and nutrition appropriations bill, which has been incorporated into an eight-bill spending package for consideration by the full House after the August recess. The Senate appropriations committee approved its agriculture bill on July 20. This brief summarizes provisions of interest to states in the two bills.
The House appropriations committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2018 interior and environment appropriations bill on July 18, 2017. In addition to interior and environment, the bill also covers related agencies that oversee state grants, including the Forest Service, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The House bill has since been incorporated into an eight-bill spending package for consideration by the full House after the August recess. The Senate has not yet released its version of the bill. This brief highlights funding levels and provisions of interest to states in the House bill.
The Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education appropriations bill is one of the largest spending bills, and includes funding for dozens of state and local grant programs. This brief highlights funding and provisions of interest to states in the House bill.
The House and Senate appropriations committees have approved their Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bills for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The House bill, approved on July 17, would reduce combined T-HUD appropriations by $1.1 billion (-2%) compared to FY 2017. The Senate bill was approved on July 27; it would increase funding by $2.4 billion (4%). This brief summarizes funding and other provisions of interest included in the bills.
As in previous years, fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriations are taking place under odd circumstances. Neither the House nor Senate has adopted a budget resolution that sets discretionary spending targets for the year, so the two chambers are working from dissimilar totals and sub-allocations (known as 302(b)s). While the lack of a budget resolution meant things got off to a slow start, both chambers have now begun work.
Both the House and Senate appropriations committees have approved FY 2018 legislation providing funds for Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS). This brief summarizes significant components of the bills. Other appropriations bills will be covered in subsequent briefs.
Following a March blueprint, the president released a detailed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018 on May 23. The far-reaching proposals support a call to amend the Budget Control Act (BCA) to allow $54 billion in additional FY 2018 defense spending, offset by an equal cut in domestic discretionary spending. This summary touches on the broad outline of the budget; specifics will be provided once the appropriations process gets underway
On May 5, the president signed a fiscal year (FY) 2017 omnibus spending package (P.L. 115-31), completing the appropriations process for FY 2017. The omnibus includes 11 appropriations bills and extends Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and related programs through FY 2018.
The funding levels in the bill are in effect for the remainder of the fiscal year and replace the annualized funding levels set in the previous continuing resolution (CR). The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the bill complies with discretionary spending caps in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015.
The budget essentially represents a continuation of the status quo, with level funding for many programs, and few policy riders. This Budget Brief describes funding and policy provisions in the omnibus that are relevant to states. Table 1 includes funding for major grant programs. Compared to FY 2016, states will see a 1.7% increase in these major discretionary programs. Mandatory programs are estimated to increase 3%, largely driven by growth in Medicaid. A few mandatory programs listed on the table are subject to FY 2017 sequestration of non-exempt mandatory programs, as explained below.
When the president released his budget blueprint for fiscal year (FY) 2018 on March 16, it was followed by a supplemental request for FY 2017 for additional defense spending, partly offset by non-defense reductions. During the last week of March, a document was released that purported to list options developed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to achieve savings in FY 2017 non-defense discretionary spending, pursuant to the president’s request.
This Budget Brief identifies options with an impact on states. Fifty-state estimates are available below.
The president’s budget blueprint for fiscal year (FY) 2018, America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, provides top-line discretionary spending levels for federal agencies with some specific details. It does not propose funding levels for most discretionary programs, or information on mandatory spending and revenues.
The spreadsheet linked below shows state detail for those grant programs targeted for elimination in the FY 2018 budget. It is limited to programs included in the FFIS grants database.
Two reports highlight options to reduce federal spending that could be tapped as the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget process unfolds:
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its periodic report on options to reduce federal spending or increase federal revenues over 10 years. CBO’s options—which number 115—are culled from a variety of sources, including prior president’s budgets, proposed legislation, congressional budget resolutions, private organizations, and others. Options run the full spectrum from charging for services provided to the private sector to raising the retirement age for Social Security.
- The Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of several proposals to reduce discretionary spending, as part of its Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017. These proposals could be especially relevant because a former Heritage Foundation staffer is reportedly playing a key role in drafting the president’s budget.
FFIS has summarized proposals in the two reports that would have a fiscal impact on states.
On January 13, Congress adopted a concurrent budget resolution for fiscal year (FY) 2017. In a typical year, the budget resolution is adopted long before the beginning of the fiscal year, setting discretionary spending targets for congressional appropriators to use in drafting the budget.
This year is different. The 114th Congress never adopted a budget resolution or a final spending bill for FY 2017, which began on October 1, 2016. (The fiscal year has thus far been governed by continuing resolutions [CR], the most recent of which expires on April 28, 2017.) The 115th Congress has now resurrected the FY 2017 budget resolution, to pursue its objective of repealing major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
This Budget Brief summarizes provisions of interest to states.
Congressional leaders and the president-elect have outlined a robust agenda for 2017. Priorities include repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), tax reform, infrastructure investment, reducing regulations, and reforming mandatory programs, including Medicaid. In addition, two budgets need to be finalized and the debt limit raised. A number of mandatory programs are also set to expire this year, most notably the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
This brief provides a timeline for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 and FY 2018 budgets, and highlights programs and deadlines that require congressional action.
The 115th Congress has begun the year by attempting to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act through the budget reconciliation process—a tool with which Congress can pass mandatory spending and tax changes under limited debate in the Senate.
The Center for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) has published a Q&A explaining reconciliation. This Budget Brief provides a summary of its analysis, and examines the potential significance of reconciliation for states.