# Federal Update | Good Start on Congressional Appropriations Although Long Road Ahead

May 10, 2019

The House Appropriations Committee began the annual appropriations process in earnest this week, advancing the first of 12 funding bills for Fiscal Year 2020. In marked contrast to the President’s FY20 budget proposal, it was an encouraging start for University priorities, as appropriators approved substantial increases across student aid programs at the Department of Education and a $2 billion boost for the National Institutes of Health.  Final FY19 FY20 PBR FY20 PBR v. FY19 FY20 House Committee FY20 House Committee vs. FY19 Labor-HHS-Education NIH 39084 34400 -12.0% 41084 5.1% Pell Grants (Discretionary Funding) 22475 22475 0.0% 22475 0.0% Pell Grants (Max Grant) 6195 6195 0.0% 6345 2.4% Federal Perkins Loans Work Study 1130 500 -55.8% 1434 26.9% SEOG 840 0 -100.0% 1028 22.4% TRIO 1060 950 -10.4% 1160 9.4% GEAR UP 360 0 -100.0% 395 9.7% Title VI 72 0 -100.0% 89.1 23.4% GAANN 23 0 -100.0% 24 4.3% Institute of Education Sciences 615 522 -15.1% 650 5.7% Institute of Museum and Library Services 242 23 -90.5% 257 6.2% However, action in the House is just the first step in a long process, and Senate appropriators have not yet begun their work. In order for the two chambers to make progress on appropriations, the House, Senate and White House will first have to negotiate a broad budget deal that establishes an agreed-upon level of overall spending – likely over two years – that is higher than current law allows. Without such an agreement, statutory caps now in place would cut total defense and non-defense discretionary spending next year by$126 billion from the current year level.

Though such a steep cut has prompted congressional leaders on both sides to agree a deal is needed, there are no indications that talks have begun. Further, the president has thus far dismissed the idea of agreeing to another budget deal, though the common assumption is he will ultimately do so to avoid drastic automatic reductions to defense.