The U.S. Senate remains in session today, considering the final 2019 budget appropriations, among other legislation. Among the many bills and motions considered, highlights from this week’s session include passage of the Labor, HHS, Education agency appropriations and the defense appropriations act. Both contain multiple amendments. The Alliance will review the relevant amendments over the coming days and weeks.

On Thursday, Aug. 23, the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill passed. With passage, this is still not the final appropriations bill, as it still needs to be conferenced with the House prior to October 1, 2018. Additionally, there are three spending packages that remain before the Senate for vote. These packages may or may not include previously introduced bills that may affect the final budgets for Labor, HHS, and Education. The Alliance will continue to monitor the Senate’s work. The Aderholt amendment is still a potential risk as reconsideration will occur during the conferencing sessions since it remained in the House Appropriations bills.   

Amendment Adoptions

McConnell (for Whitehouse/Cassidy) Amendment No. 3765 (to Amendment No. 3695), to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide Congress a status update on rulemaking, with respect to conditions of certification of health information technology and information blocking, required by the 21st Century Cures Act. The Cures Act, signed into law December 2016, is designed to help accelerate medical product development and bring new innovations and advances to patients who need them.  

McConnell (for Heller/Klobuchar) Amendment No. 3810 (to Amendment No. 3695), to require the Secretary of Education to report to Congress regarding coordination between the Department of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation on STEM programs for students in grades pre-K-12.  

McConnell (for Cortez Masto/Ernst) Amendment No. 3825 (to Amendment No. 3695), to provide for the conduct of a study on the relationship between intimate partner violence and traumatic brain injury.  

McConnell (for Cassidy) Amendment No. 3858 (to Amendment No. 3695), to require the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shall conduct a comprehensive study and submit to Congress a report that includes a portfolio analysis of current funding levels of the NIH related to mental health and substance use disorder.  

McConnell (for Peters/Capito) Amendment No. 3870 (to Amendment No. 3695), to ensure youth are considered when the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration follows guidance on the medication-assisted treatment for prescription drug and opioid addiction program.  

McConnell (for Casey/Collins) Amendment No. 3875 (to Amendment No. 3695), to provide funding for the secretary of Health and Human Services to establish the Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.  

McConnell (for Wicker/Peters) Amendment No. 3883 (to Amendment No. 3695), to provide a sense of Congress that computer science education programs, including coding academies, can provide important benefits to local industries and the economy and help meet in-demand workforce needs, and the Department of Education and Department of Labor should work together with industry to improve and expand computer science education programs and opportunities, including through apprenticeships.  

McConnell (for Cantwell/Cassidy) Amendment No. 3908 (to Amendment No. 3695), to provide a sense of the Senate that dedicated funding for coding courses in kindergarten through grade 12 education should be a top priority.  

McConnell (for Casey/Young) Amendment No. 3982 (to Amendment No. 3695), to increase amounts available for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act State grant program.  

Source: Congressional Record  

Signed into Law

H.R. 2345 - National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018
Includes provision from Senate bill 1015: To require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to study the feasibility of designating a three-digit dialing code to be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. Within one-year work and reports by the FCC, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Veterans Affairs “that recommends whether a particular N11 dialing code or other covered dialing code should be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.”  

Legislation We Continue to Watch and Work On

Family First Prevention Services Act implementation through the Alliance’s Child and Family Well-Being Policy Working Group. (Members can join the group in myAlliance.)

H.R. 6616 - Everyday Philanthropist Act
Introduced Jul 26, 2018

This legislation would allow for the creation of a new federal program called Flexible Giving Accounts, which would set aside a percentage of individuals’ pre-tax income to donate to charities or nonprofits; in essence restoring a tax break for charitable donations. Sponsor Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.). The bill is currently in committee (House Ways and Means) and isn’t anticipated to move soon. As we have more information, this may become an opportunity to activate the network.  

H.R. 2069 - Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act (FSHO)
Ordered reported July 24, 2018

Originally introduced in Sept. 2016, the FSHO Act prioritizes housing assistance for youth who have aged out of foster care and are at risk of homelessness. In the 2015 fiscal year, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families estimated that nearly 21,000 youth across the country emancipated (“aged out”) from foster care, resulting in homelessness, housing instability, and as is reported in supporting bill language “negative outcomes” for a majority of these youth. Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio) is the House sponsor, with 28 cosponsors (10 D + 18 R). The Senate companion is led by Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa); Debbie Stabenow (R-Mich.); with five cosponsors. Some Housing advocates oppose this legislation citing that it is unfair to those who have waiting months, if not years on a housing assistance wait list. We will continue to monitor this legislation and may activate the network as needed.

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