Washington Watch: Movement on LHHS funding bill

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With government funding expiring on Friday, November 17, Congress must pass another stopgap funding measure by the end of the week to avoid a government shutdown. At the same time, House Republicans have struggled to move forward on fiscal year 2024 (FY24) appropriations bills.

The House has now released the budget report accompanying the FY24 DOL/LHHS funding bill. Report language is typically released when the Appropriations Committee considers a funding bill, but the FY24 LHHS bill was sent out of committee without a full vote . The language of the report has now been released with the House Rules Committee scheduled to consider the bill this week.

The report asserts that the House bill would eliminate funding for Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Work Study (FWS), and the Child Care Access Program for Parents in School (CCAMPIS). The maximum Pell Grant award will remain constant at $7,395. The bill would reduce funding for postsecondary student success grants to $15 million (a $30 million cut) and would cut funding for basic needs grants in half to $5 million. The bill maintains funding for the Title III-A Institutional Strengthening Program and the Community College Training Grant (SCCTG) program. The bill would also eliminate funding for some other Department of Labor job training programs.

Nursing report

The report includes new language requiring the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to compile a report and analysis of how HRSA prioritizes opportunities for community college nursing programs in Title VIII nursing workforce development grant programs. Community colleges play an essential role in educating our healthcare workforce, educating approximately 40% of registered nurses. Despite the sector’s contributions and the tremendous need for a trained health care workforce in communities across the country, less than 1% of Title VIII grants have been awarded to community colleges. The American Association of Community Colleges is working to change that.

The House plans to put the LHHS Bill before Parliament next week (the week commencing 13 November), but with the continuing resolution expiring and no agreement to continue funding the government, it may be delayed.

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