Here's the scoop on what's happening this week in Congress
This week, the Senate passed the FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill, the final agreement which was publicly released last week. The House of Representatives is expected to pass this LHHS package next week. The LHHS FY2019 bill is being combined with the FY2019 Defense bill to increase its likelihood of passage. President Trump this week tweeted dislike of this joint package, but there are no firm indications that he will not sign the package into law. As stated last week, if this bill is signed before October 1st, it will be the first time in 22 years that the LHHS bill will be signed into law prior to the start of the fiscal year. When the bill is signed into law, NCSD will send members a final detailed analysis with a funding chart.
Additionally, in a letter to congressional leaders released earlier this week, HHS Secretary Alex Azar reallocated $266 million in unspent federal funding from other HHS programs to the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program in the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Included in this sum is $558,000 from the Division of STD Prevention. Likely included in this $558,000 was STD grant funding that jurisdictions were able to apply for and choose not to, making it easier for the Secretary to reallocate this funding to other functions.
Additional funding for the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program is being taken from the Ryan White ADAP program ($5.75M), Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention ($1.4M from HIV Prevention, $1.2M from HIV Surveillance), Division of Viral Hepatitis ($138,000), Division of Tuberculosis ($504,000), and many other HHS programs. NCSD and national partner organizations issued a press release this afternoon calling upon the Administration and Congress to seek alternative funding.
NCSD will continue to monitor this situation and will release more information on both of these topics as it is made available.