Government Affairs and Advocacy

March 13 Federal Update: President Releases Budget Request for FY2024

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March 10, 2023

Last Thursday, President Biden released a $6.9 trillion spending request for the fiscal year 2024. The Presidential Budget Request is merely a recommendation – appropriations committees in both chambers of Congress will draft their proposals. However, the budget does represent the president’s priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1, 2023.

Here is a summary of essential line items that may be of interest to the Social Current network:

Administration for Children and Families

  • $13.1 billion for Head Start, an increase of $1.1 billion over F.Y. 2023 
  • $9 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, an increase of $1 billion for F.Y. 2023
  • $215 million for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act 

Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration 

  • Permanently Extend Funding for Community Mental Health Services 

Department of Education 

  • $16.8 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Grants, an increase of $2.1 billion over F.Y. 2023 
  • $368 million for Full-Service Community Schools, an increase of $218 million above F.Y. 2023 

Department of Agriculture 

  • Reconsiders time limits for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • $6.3 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC)

Contribute to Social Current’s New Voter Outreach Toolkit

Social Current is updating its Voter and Civic Engagement Toolkit, a collaborative project with NonprofitVOTE that provides guidance, advice, and tools for community-based human services nonprofits that want to begin or expand their voter outreach efforts.

For the updated toolkit, Social Current is searching for stories from network organizations that have run successful voter engagement campaigns. If your organization has led or participated in any voter engagement activities, either in the workplace or the community, please contact Derry Kiernan, our field mobilization and policy manager.

We’d love to feature you in the new toolkit, which will be an available resource for the network and the broader nonprofit community as we head into elections this fall and next year.

Hearing on Community Health Centers

On March 2, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hosted a hearing called “Community Health Centers: Savings Lives, Saving Money.” The hearing highlighted the vital work community health centers (CHCs) and their workforce do in local communities nationwide under its unique model. As the speakers argued in their testimonies, health centers help expand healthcare to vulnerable populations while minimizing healthcare costs through extended primary care and innovative integrated care approaches. According to a Kaiser Permanente study, Amanda Pears Kelly, CEO of Advocates for Community Health, argued that community health centers saved the Medicaid and Medicare programs $25.3 billion in 2021 by focusing on cost-saving primary care. Sue Veer of Carolina Health Centers focused on the creative side of CHCs, citing the emphasis on integrated care models, like Nurse-Family Partnership and Parents as Teachers, that improve outcomes for vulnerable populations. Ben Harvey of the Indiana Primary Health Care Association cited a study that said CHCs had an economic impact in the state of nearly $1 billion annually through the employment of direct and indirect workers and the increased spending of healthy people in the community. Finally, a representative from the Government Accountability Office, Jessica Farb, showed that the number of patients served by CHCs increased from 19.5 million in 2010 to 30 million in 2021.

Tax Policy Solutions to the Housing Crisis

Last week, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on the role of tax policy in incentivizing the construction of affordable housing across the country. In their opening statements, Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) highlighted the main issue: the failure of housing construction to keep up with rising demand has led to sky-high rental rates and property prices. Mark Calabria of the Cato Institute stated that housing affordability decreased unprecedentedly from 2021 to 2022. Sharon Wilson Geno, a representative from the National Multifamily Housing Council and National Apartment Association, cited a study that said the percentage of households paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing increased from 28% in 1985 to 36.9% in 2021. The presenters supported numerous tax policy solutions that could incentivize more housing production, meet housing demand, and reduce prices. Garrett Watson of the Tax Foundation discussed reforms to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, a $13.5 billion annual credit that helped build more than 3 million housing units between 1986 and 2020. Steve Walker of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission discussed the role of the Housing Credit, particularly in tight markets that developers often overlook. Geno called for the passage of the Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit, which would support the construction of 344,000 rental homes over ten years.

USDA Equity Commission Report Released

The Department of Agriculture released its first Equity Commission report, a requirement of President Biden’s January 2021 Executive Order on racial equity. The report outlines various ways the department can advance equity and justice, given its history of racial discrimination in funding and resource allocation. Though the report primarily focuses on policy proposals that impact farmers, it also makes recommendations about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The report states that current policy limits program access based on residency and immigration status, which should be rectified. The report also recommends lifting restrictions on residents of Puerto Rico, people with previous drug felony convictions, and unemployed people without dependents. USDA says these existing policies disproportionately impact BIPOC and harm their nutrition and health.

Social Current, APHSA Partner to Co-Create New Framework for Community-Based and Public Sector Human Services Leaders

The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and Social Current have a long history of collaboration. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the two organizations will continue partnering to develop a new leadership framework for health and human services leaders to work together across system boundaries.

Read more in this article by APHSA President and CEO Tracy Wareing Evans and Social Current President and CEO Jody Levison-Johnson from the latest edition of Policy & Practice.

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