Around 2 a.m. this morning the Senate and then the House passed a bipartisan budget deal and continuing resolution that extends government funding to March 23, doubles the federal investment on child care, and also raises the spending caps for non-defense and defense spending for FY2018 and FY2019. The measure, signed into law today lays the groundwork for a FY2018 Omnibus spending bill that is able to make additional important investments in education programs like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
The bipartisan budget deal raises the debt limit until March 2019 and extends important health programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program CHIP). It includes disaster relief for areas impacted by hurricanes and fires last year including Puerto Rico.
The deal negotiated by Senate and House majority and minority leadership allows for a total of $131 billion in additional non-defense discretionary spending for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and $165 billion more for defense spending over the two fiscal years. As a result, additional funding is expected to be available for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations, which includes federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) afterschool and summer learning program funding.
Of the total two-year increase for non-defense discretionary spending, several programs were singled out to receive increases however the remaining increases will be determined by the Appropriations Committee over the coming weeks as they write the FY2018 Omnibus spending bill. In particular the deal authorizes an increase of $5.8 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program over two years ($2.9 billion per year), doubling these funds. About a third of CCDBG funds support school-age children in afterschool and summer learning programs therefore this historic increase means more school-age students will be served while program quality will also improve. Click here to see a chart by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) showing how many additional children will be able to receive child care assistance in each state. The deal also includes:
- $6 billion to fight opioid and mental health crises which could include funding for local prevention efforts.
- $20 billion for infrastructure – the description does not mention schools at this time. However details have yet to be worked out and advocates are making the case for school construction funding.
While Congress passed this new spending deal and fifth continuing resolution for FY2018 today, the Trump administration is still expected to release its budget proposal for FY2019 this coming Monday, February 12, 2018. Friends of afterschool are encouraged to weigh in with Congress on the importance of federal support for local afterschool and summer learning programs for both the FY2018 Omnibus bill and FY19 appropriations.