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Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia

Scott Statement on FY16 Omnibus

December 18, 2015
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education and the Workforce, Democrats

WASHINGTON, D.C. Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement on House passage of H.R. 2029, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which fully funds the federal government through September 30, 2016, provides a two year implementation delay of the excise tax on high-cost employer sponsored health insurance plans, makes important investments in students and does not hinder the Department of Labor’s ability to enforce rules that protect workers. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 316-113 (Roll Call No.705).

“Despite recent gains in our economy, too many working families are still struggling to make ends meet. With today’s vote, the House has taken a significant step forward to help workers, students and families. The investments made in this bill are necessary to ensure our nation’s economic health and competitiveness.

“The bill provides substantial support for job training and apprenticeship programs, which are proven pathways to a sustainable career. I am pleased that some of the most egregious policy riders that were in early versions of the bill were ultimately removed. These provisions would have allowed interference with employee organizing, unsafe workplaces, unscrupulous retirement savings advice, discrimination and wage theft. 

“This appropriations bill also includes significant increases in federal education programs, especially for those benefiting low-income students. These additional funds will help close resource and opportunity gaps at every level of our education system and will help make sure a high-quality education is within reach of every American child.

“While this bill provides adequate funding increases for programs that support students and workers, Congress must still rebalance its priorities to better ensure that hardworking American families have the opportunity to prosper. I am confident that by working together, we can increase investments in measures to boost wages, help workers to better balance work and family life, and level the playing field to create opportunity for all in the future.”

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FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act Fact Sheet
Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats

2015 enacted level:  $156.8 billion

2016 Committee mark:  $153.1 billion

2016 Omnibus:  $162.1 billion

Department of Labor

  • $1.6 billion for worker protection agencies – including Wage and Hour, OSHA, MSHA, OFCCP – at the Department of Labor which is $3 million more than the 2015 enacted level and $39 million more than the House bill.
  • $2.7 billion for WIOA Job Training Formula Grant program, which is $86 million more than the 2015 enacted level and the House bill.
  • $90 million to expand opportunities relating to apprenticeship programs registered under the National Apprenticeship Act.

Independent Labor Agencies

  • $274 million for the National Labor Relations Board to carry out its functions, which is $74 million more than the 2015 enacted level and the House bill.
  • $364 million for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the same as the FY 2015 enacted level.

Department of Education

  • $14.9 billion for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies, which is $500 million more than the 2015 enacted level and the House bill.
  • $11.9 billion for Special Education state grants (IDEA), which is $415 million more than the 2015 enacted level and $87 million less than the House bill.
  • $1.3 billion for Impact Aid, which is $17 million more than the 2015 enacted level and $7 million more than the House bill.
  • $2.3 billion for Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, which is the same as the 2015 enacted level and $668 million more than the House bill.
  • $1.17 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which is $15 million more than the FY 2015 enacted level.
  • $120 million for Investing in Innovation, which is the same as the FY 2015 enacted level.
  • $190 million for Striving Readers, which is $30 million more than the FY 2015 enacted level.
  • $153 million for Math and Science Partnerships, which is the same as the FY 2015 enacted level.
  • $450 million for School Improvement Grants, which received $506 million in 2015.
  • $250 million for Preschool Development Grants, which is the same as the FY 2015 enacted level.
  • $22.5 billion for Pell Grants, which is the same as the 2015 enacted level and $370 million more than the House bill. When combined with mandatory funding, these discretionary funds will enable the maximum grant to increase to an estimated $5,915, an increase of $140 in the 2016-2017 school year. 
  • $570 million for Aid for Institutional Development, which is $40 million more than the 2015 enacted level and $26 million more than the House bill. 

Health and Human Services

  • $2.8 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants, which is $326 million more than the FY 2015 enacted level and the House bill.
  • $9.2 billion for Head Start, which is $570 million more than the FY 2015 enacted level and $378 million more than the House bill.
    • $635 million for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, which is $135 million more than the FY 2015 enacted level.
  • $835 million for Seniors’ Nutrition programs, which is $20 million more than the FY 2015 enacted level and $14 million more than the House bill.

Juvenile Justice

  • $270.2 million for Juvenile Justice, which is $18.7 million more than the FY 2015 level and $83.7 million above the House bill.
    • $17.5 million for delinquency prevention which includes funding for Tribal Youth Program, girls in the juvenile justice system, and gang and youth violence education, prevention and intervention, and related activities.

Child Nutrition & WIC

  • $23 million for the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children program, which is $11 million more than the House bill and $7 million more than the FY 2015 enacted level. Participation is not limited to certain communities as it was last year.
  • $6.35 billion for Special Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which is consistent with the current estimate of need; $60 million is specifically targeted to breastfeeding support, the same as the FY 2015 enacted level.

The Omnibus does not include harmful policy provisions from the House bill, which would have:

  • Blocked funding for a “fiduciary responsibility” rule – a rule designed to ensure that financial advisers provide advice in the best interests of their clients, rather than advice that is lucrative for the adviser.
  • Blocked the NLRB’s Election rule, Joint Employer standard, and its ability to rule on the proper size of collective bargaining units.
  • Blocked the OSHA crystalline silica rule
  • Blocked the Department of Education’s Gainful Employment, Credit Hour, State Authorization and Teacher Preparation rules and the College Ratings System.

The Omnibus includes policy provisions that will:

  • Delay the High Cost Plan Excise Tax – often referred to as the “Cadillac tax” – for two years for an effective date of 2020.
  • Disallow $2.6 million in funding for an Office of Labor Compliance to implement the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, but does not prevent the rule or guidance from being finalized. 
  • Require a study of MSHA’s respirable coal dust rule by the National Academy of Sciences, and requires MSHA to report to Congress when mine operator’s compliance with its new rule falls below 95 percent.
  • Require OSHA to publicize new interpretative guidance regarding the applicability of its Process Safety Management rule to retailers.
  • Require the Department of Labor to accept private wage surveys in the H-2B program.
  • Block the Department of Labor from enforcing the three-fourths guarantee and corresponding employment requirements and from conducting audits in the H-2B program.
  • Exempt seasonal contractors offering recreational services or recreational equipment rental on federal land from receiving the minimum wage of $10.10 established by Executive Order 13658.
  • Restrict the Department of Agriculture’s implementation of target two sodium levels in child nutrition programs until scientific research confirms the need for further reductions.
  • Allow for states to set up a process to grant waivers from the whole grain requirement in school meals.