Senate Passes Spending Bill for Labor, Health, Education

Article excerpt

The Senate passed an eleventh spending bill, 89-10, for fiscal year 2002 last week, appropriating $123 billion dollars for the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services (H.R. 3061).

The measure will increase funding for key municipal programs including youth employment and training and senior services, as well as education and healthcare. A House-Senate conference committee is expected to meet soon to resolve differences in funding allocations for education and health programs. Highlights of the Senate appropriations measure are listed below.

* The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) would be funded at $2 billion, $300 million above the President's request;

* The Child Care and Development Block Grant would be funded at the President's request of $2.2 billion, $200 million more than last year;

* Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services would be funded with more than $3 billion, including $440 million for the Mental Health Block Grant ($20 million more than the President's request and last year's allocation);

* The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) would be funded at $1.7 billion. (The House Appropriations committee also restored the authority to transfer 10 percent of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant [TANF] to SSBG.);

* Programs for dislocated workers would be funded at $1.5 billion, an increase of $136.4 million from fiscal year 2001;

* Youth employment and training programs, authorized under the Workforce Investment Act, would be funded at $2.8 billion, including $55 million for the reintegration of youth offenders;

* Community Health Centers would be funded at $1.3 billion, and increase of $175 million from last year;

* $6.6 billion is allocated for the Head Start program, an increase of $400 million over last year;

* 21st Century Community Learning Centers would benefit from an increase of $154 million, with total funding of $1 billion; and

* Funding would begin for the President's Faith Based Initiative with $30 million for the Compassion Capital Fund and an increase of $70 million for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program.

H.R. 3061 would also increase overall funding ($48.5 billion) for the Department of Education by $6.3 billion, providing more money for rural education programs authorized in the Senate-passed version of H. …