Keeping an Eye on Appropriations
By Marge Clark, BVM
June 9, 2015
The House and Senate committees are working hard to complete spending bills for FY2015 before the August recess. Multiple appropriations bills are moving simultaneously, with several being critical this week. As we know, our budget is a moral document—and the appropriations process is where the rubber hits the road. Decisions made during this process will have a huge impact on our nation’s finances and priorities. Take action and email your members of Congress today!
Here are some of the pieces NETWORK is keeping an eye on during the appropriations process:
HOUSING (in T-HUD):
- Oppose amendments that would further cut housing programs that provide people with a place to live
- Support amendments that would boost current funding levels, particularly in programs that have already been affected by sequestration and proposed cuts
- Restore vouchers lost under sequestration
- Provide additional funds for homeless assistance grants, to continue the work which is having a positive impact on reduction of family homelessness
- Eliminate proposed cuts to the HOME program, the only current source of acquisition of additional units of housing
- Eliminate proposed cuts to funding for fair housing and healthy housing that provide for elimination of lead, necessary repairs, and other safety needs in assisted housing.
- Oppose the rider, currently in the House (and expected in the Senate), that would eliminate the requirement for school meal programs to follow nutrition standards based on solid health science (such as use of whole grains, inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables)
LABOR, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES AND EDUCATION
- Increase funding to account for the new and rapid increase of unaccompanied minors into the U.S. Currently, the emergency need for $2.28 billion additional to provide for these children, who require and deserve the assistance of social services to become reunited with family members, is unaccounted for in the set appropriations. Proposed solutions include either securing the $2.28 billion from outside the appropriations process, as true emergency funding; or from across all appropriations areas.
- Make no changes that would negatively affect access to healthcare for those relying on provisions of the Affordable Care Act or other government-assisted health care.
- End the detention bed quota, which arbitrarily mandates that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains 34,000 individuals across the country each day and costs taxpayers over $2 billion each year. For more about the Detention Bed Quota, view these resources from the Detention Watch Network .