On March 22, 2018, the House passed a bipartisan FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government through Sept. 30, 2018. The bill passed the House with a vote of 256-167 (90 Republicans and 77 Democrats voted against the bill). The Senate is expected to begin work on the bill immediately to prevent a government shutdown before the current continuing resolution ends on Friday.
The $1.3 trillion bill substantially boosts several of NAMI’s key priorities. The bill includes significant investments in research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), to the Mental Health Block Grant and to key programs at the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Justice. By including meaningful funding increases for these programs, Congress has taken a crucial step to support individuals with mental health conditions.
Below is a summary of key provisions that impact people with mental illness and their families (increases noted below reflect additional funding over FY 2017 numbers).
Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
The bill significantly boosts National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funding and programs at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):
Overall, NIH will see a $3B increase in FY 2018.
Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
The omnibus budget significantly increases HUD funding in several key areas:
McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
The omnibus bill includes substantial investments in programs for veterans who live with mental health conditions and veterans in crisis:
VA Mental Health Services and Programs
Veteran Suicide Prevention Programs and Outreach
Honor Our Commitment Act
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Finally, the budget also includes increases to programs at DOJ that affect people with mental illness:
Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA)
Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG)
Veterans Treatment Courts
On Monday, Feb. 12th, the President released his proposed budget for FY 2019. The President’s budget is a signal of the White House’s priorities, but it is not necessarily an indicator of what the federal budget will look like, since it is Congress that passes the budget.
The President’s budget request includes proposed legislative changes to Medicaid that would hurt people with mental illness, including:
The President’s budget also proposes to make a devastating $83B cut to Social Security over 10 years. This includes at least $70B in proposed cuts to disability programs. The proposal includes cuts in the following areas:
In addition, the President’s proposed budget affects the following departments and agencies whose programs impact people with mental illness and their families:
Health & Human Services
The President’s budget proposes $68.4B, a $17.9B cut from the 2017 enacted budget, impacting several agencies that serve people with mental illness. However, the budget addendum adds $15.8B, for a net cut of $2.1B to HHS from 2017. Note: In the President’s budget and addendum, $10B is set-aside for opioid and serious mental illness within HHS.
Housing & Urban Development
The President’s budget makes significant cuts and proposes changes to Section 8 and public housing that could increase rents on people receiving housing assistance and impose work requirements.
The President’s budget makes encouraging investments in Veterans’ access to mental healthcare, homelessness programs and medical research.
Department of Justice
The President’s budget includes some cuts to programs in DOJ that affect people with mental illness.
NAMI will continue to advocate for mental health-related budgets as Congress finalizes the FY 2018 and 2019 budgets.