This week, members of Congress return to Washington following the August recess. In this appropriations update, the National Council For Community Behavioral Healthcare recaps each of the three FY 2008 spending bills followed in the Public Policy Update-Labor, Health and Human Services [HHS], Education and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science; and Transportation and Housing and Urban Development [HUD].
On July 19, the full House passed the FY 2008 Human Services [HSS], Education, and Related Agencies spending bill by a vote of 276-140. The $607 billion bill, which has a $151.5 billion 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, continued for three days.
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.
On July 19, the full House passed the $104 billion Transportation and Housing and Urban Development [HUD] FY 2008 spending bill by a vote of 268-153. The bill which has a discretionary spending allocation of $50.7 billion, provides $236.6 million for the Section 811 program, HUDs 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 8s tenant-based vouchers at $16.3 billion, $410 million over FY 2007 levels and $330 million over the President’s request. $6.5 billion is allocated to fund Section 8s project-based vouchers, $503 million over FY 2007 levels and $667 million 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 8s tenant-based vouchers, and $5.97 is allocated to fund Section 8s project-based vouchers.
On July 26, the full House passed the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies spending bill. The 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.