The NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR COMMUNITY BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE in its PUBLIC POLICY UPDATE, dated July 19, 2007 reports that the House and Senate continued their work on the FY 2008 spending bills. According to the National Council, the full House took up debate on the Health and Human Services [HHS], Education, and Related Agencies FY 2008 spending bill, this week, and late last week the full House Appropriations Committee approved the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies spending bill. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their Transportation and Housing and Urban Development [HUD] spending bills.
Labor-HHS Bill Considered by Full House
This week, the full House began consideration of the FY 2008 Human Services [HHS], Education, and Related Agencies FY 2008 spending bill. The $607 billion bill, which has a $151.5 billion discretionary spending allocation, faced several amendments aimed at trimming its discretionary spending. Debate on the measure, which includes funding for a variety of mental health and addictions treatment programs, continues today.
President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, which exceeds his FY 2008 spending request by $10.6 billion.
The full Senate Appropriations Committee approved its Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies spending bill on June 21.
Commerce-Justice-Science Approved by Full House Appropriations Committee
On July 12, the full House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to mark up the Commerce-Justice-Science and Related Agencies spending bill. This bill includes $10 million for the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act [ MIOTCRA] grant program, doubling funding for this important jail diversion program. In the past two years, Congress has funded the program at $5 million per year, far below the authorized amount of $50 million. The National Council has lobbied actively for MIOTCRA to be funded at the authorized level of $50 million and continues to advocate for increased funding for this important program.
On June 26, the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved its FY 2008 spending bill, also including $10 million for MIOTCRA.
Transportation-HUD Bill Passed by House, Senate Appropriations Committees
On July 11, the House Appropriations Committee approved its Transportation and Housing and Urban Development [HUD] FY 2008 spending bill. The $104 billion bill, with $50.7 billion in discretionary spending, provides $236.6 for the section 811 program, HUD’s sole program providing supportive housing for non-elderly low-income people with mental illness and other disabilities. This is $111.6 million above President Bush’s request and level with FY 2007 funding. The bill funds Section 8's tenant-based vouchers at $16.3 billion, $410 million over FY 2007 levels and $330 million over the President’s request. $6.5 is allocated to fund Section 8's project-based vouchers, $503 million over FY 2007 levels and $667 above the President’s request.
On July 12, the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved its draft FY 2008 spending bill. The Senate bill provides $237 million for the section 811 program, $15.9 billion is allocated for Section 8 tenant-based vouchers, and $5.97 billion is allocated to fund Section 8's project-based vouchers.
Senator Robert C. Byrd [D-WV], Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has said that he wants to have the Transportation-Hud bill on the Senate floor for consideration by the week of July 23.