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Harkin Amendment Will Offer Negotiated FY 13 Labor, Health, Education Bill to Continuing Appropriations Act

Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Tom Harkin

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An amendment to the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (CR) that will be offered by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) will increase funding for the NIH, child care, and education while staying within the current budget parameters.  The amendment reflects the bipartisan compromise on the Fiscal Year 2013 Labor-HHS spending bill negotiated in December by Harkin and his Senate and House counterparts.  Harkin is Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

“The spending package we’re considering this week leaves programs under the Labor-HHS-Education jurisdiction on autopilot,” said Harkin.  “I am proposing to replace the autopilot version of the Labor-HHS bill with a detailed, thoughtful, bicameral, bipartisan compromise.  This is not my Labor-HHS bill.  If I had my druthers, every dollar in the bill would be spent exactly how I wanted.  But of course, compromise doesn’t work that way.  This amendment includes priorities from the other side of the aisle, and from the other side of the Capitol.
“This amendment increases funding for the National Institutes of Health, the preeminent biomedical research entity in the world; the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which gives working families access to high-quality child care; and education for students with disabilities.  And my amendment costs exactly the same amount overall as the autopilot version of the Labor-HHS bill.  I urge my colleagues to support this effort.”
Highlights of Harkin’s amendment:
  • Title 1: $107 million more for Title I.  The CR – zero increase.
  • IDEA: $125 million more for Part B State Grants for carrying out the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the key federal program for helping educate students with disabilities.  The CR – zero increase.
  • Childcare: $107 million more for childcare – an increase of $57 million over the CR, which means child care subsidies for the working families of 10,000 additional children—families who depend on quality affordable child care to be able to work.
  • NIH: The Senate CR/omnibus includes $71 million more than last year for the National Institutes of Health.  But my amendment triples that increase, adding $211 million more than last year.
  • AIDS Drugs: The Ryan White AIDS Drug Assistance Program provides life-saving drugs to people living with HIV.  My amendment includes $29 million more for this program.  The CR – zero increase.
  • TRIO: $14 million more for TRIO programs, which help low-income students realize the dream of a college education.  The CR – no increase.
The amendment to be offered fits within the budget allocation by applying a very small across-the-board cut of 0.127 percent — one-eighth of 1 percent – to every program in the bill that was negotiated in December.  Also, the Harkin amendment includes no additional funding for implementing the Affordable Care Act.  The December agreement included an increase for health reform; this amendment includes no increase.
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