Lots to Celebrate in Final Government Spending Bills


January 9th, 2020
Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, and Crickett Nicovich, Associate Director, Policy and Government Affairs

Before the holidays, Congress reached an agreement on spending bills and taxes and sent two packages to the president for signature. The good news is that the December 2019 deal includes funding increases across EVERY SINGLE GLOBAL ISSUE AREA RESULTS actively works on – including an additional $239 million for global health programs. It also includes increases for Housing Choice Vouchers, along with Head Start, child care assistance, and other key issues that RESULTS cares about.

Here are some of the details from the Fiscal Year 2020 Omnibus package (posted here, along with the explanatory statement here):

  • A $1.27 billion increase for Housing Choice Vouchers (Tenant Based Rental Assistance), to a total of $23.9 billion. RESULTS volunteers worked to secure substantial increases to rental assistance as we started our affordable housing campaign work in 2019. NLIHC has more details on housing in the FY2020 bills.
  • $1.56 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, $210 million more than fiscal year 2019 and $602 million above the President’s budget request, maintaining U.S. leadership during the sixth replenishment.
  • The bill reinforces the United States’ commitment to its 33 percent share to the Global Fund, unlike the President’s budget request, which proposed reducing U.S. contributions to 25 percent.
  • Additional foreign aid funding levels:
    • $851 million for Maternal and Child Health, which is $16 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, and includes $290 million for the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance;
    • $310 million to fight tuberculosis, which is $8 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level;
    • $150 million for nutrition programs, which is $5 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level; and
    • $875 million for basic education, which is $75 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and includes $100 million for the Global Partnership for Education and $25 million for Education Cannot Wait (in explanatory statement here).
Account
FY18 Enacted
FY19 Enacted
FY20 
President’s Budget Request
FY20
RESULTS Request
FY20
House
FY20     Senate
FY20     FINAL
Tenant Based Rental Assistance (Housing Choice Vouchers)
$22.1 billion
$22.6 billion
$22.24 billion
$5 billion increase over two years
$23.83 billion
$23.83 billion
$23.87 billion
Global Fund
$1.35 billion
$1.35 billion
$958 million
$1.56 billion
$1.56 billion
$1.56 billion
$1.56 billion
Tuberculosis
$261 million
$302 million
$261 million
$400 million
$310 million
$310 million
$310 million
Maternal/Child Health
$814.5 million
$835 million
$620 million
$900 million
$850 million
$847 million
$851 million
    of which Gavi
$290 million
$290 million
$250 million
$290 million
$290 million
$290 million
$290 million
Nutrition
$125 million
$145 million
$79 million
$250 million
$145 million
$150 million
$150 million
Basic Education
$800 million
$800 million
unknown
$925 million
$925 million
$515 million
$875 million
     of which GPE
$87.5 million
$90 million
unknown
$125 million
$100 million
$90 million
$100 million

 

These year-end funding levels put us on a good path for maintaining strong support for our child health campaigns in 2020. Gavi will be important in fiscal year 2021 as RESULTS pivots our advocacy to support child immunization and a strong Gavi replenishment this June. We also hope to build on the increase in global nutrition resources this year.

However, the bad news from the end of the year is that in the final tax deal, expansions for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) were left out. Negotiators decided to go with a smaller tax deal that extended some business tax credits. However, by focusing on a relatively small tax package, there was not enough political will to include critical expansions of the EITC and CTC (or technical corrections to the 2017 tax law).

This is certainly a disappointing outcome, but your advocacy kept the EITC and CTC in the game until the last minute. Rumors are that an expansion of the CTC for the lowest-income families was still on the table late into negotiations . Without your meetings, calls, e-mails, and 100+ media pieces on the EITC and CTC, these credits would have been out of the mix long ago. And most importantly, don’t forget that these kinds of tax deals happen every couple of years. You can bet that your hard work laid a strong foundation – including some bipartisan momentum – for when taxes are discussed again.

These final spending bills, with important increases, reflect the hard work of RESULTS volunteers over months to secure investments in critical anti-poverty programs – including 620 printed media pieces and 217 face-to-face conversations with members of Congress. As we enter a New Year, we are so grateful for all your work to make these critical investments happen!

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