“HHS anticipates that it would run out of funding under the CR for these activities in February 2017“
That is what the Administration is telling House and Senate Appropriations Committees according to language leaked from an Administration request to Congress.
It is no surprise as we have been reporting this morning here, that the Unaccompanied Alien Children are literally depleting the budget by the day.
We reported this too many times to repeat: since Congress never finished the budget for FY2017 (that began on October 1, 2016) and extended last year’s budget to December 9th, they need to either complete a whole year budget next week, or they can pass another Continuing Resolution (at the 2016 level) to March which gives the incoming Trump Administration some say over what the government will spend in the second six months of the fiscal year.
They can’t run this program without a lot of money….
And, if they don’t get more of it, if they have a budget shortfall, there is no way the Obama Administration can keep pouring refugees in to the US at the rate it has for the last 2 months. Therefore, they also won’t be able to open all of those new offices they are trying to get open in 47 new locations. (Unless Congress appropriates the money in the Continuing Resolution expected on the floor by December 8th!)
We know for sure that the Obama Dept. of Health and Human Services is begging for bucks from Congress right now in the Continuing Resolution.
Here is some language that has apparently ‘gotten loose’ in Washington. The big question is whether the House and the Senate Appropriations Committees will be inclined to do Obama’s bidding! Why should they?
Language is needed to provide a rate for operations of $3,874 million for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Refugee and Entrant Assistance account and to authorize additional transfers of funding from other HHS accounts to the Refugee and Entrant Assistance account, in the event caseloads are higher than anticipated. To support the Administration’s refugee admissions target as well as high projected flows of other humanitarian entrants, an annualized rate of $1,051 million is needed to cover cash and medical expenses and social services for these populations. In addition, HHS is experiencing the highest number of unaccompanied children in care and the largest footprint of funded capacity in the program’s history, and flows of unaccompanied children have continued to grow over the last months; an annualized rate of $2,823 million is needed for HHS to meet its legal obligations to shelter and care for unaccompanied children referred to HHS. Given current shelter needs and flows of unaccompanied children, without this anomaly, HHS anticipates that it would run out of funding under the CR for these activities in February 2017. At a minimum, HHS anticipates needing an additional $500 million above the current CR rate during the period of the CR through March 31, 2017, $430 million for the unaccompanied children program and $70 million for refugee and humanitarian entrant programs, as well as additional transfer authority to protect against higher than expected costs.
First, this administration is making sure (at this very minute) that “caseloads are higher than anticipated.”
Second, the Obama Administration has encouraged the great flow of “unaccompanied children” and now they whine they don’t have the money to care for them.
And, third, Congress holds the purse strings. Will they starve the beast now, or feed it through March. What will Rep. Tom Price (as Trump’s pick for HHS) signal to his House colleagues in the coming days.
Does Trump understand that he might not be able to turn the spigot off completely on January 21, if Congress has appropriated the money? I bet Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell know! Will they roll him on this?
You need to let your members of Congress and your Senators know they must disapprove this request!
So far, we don’t know of any move to completely defund the program on the CR, but will keep you posted if we hear.
Endnote: All of our posts on this topic are tagged ‘Where is Congress.’