Date: December 8th, 2016
By: Bob Reeg
Status and Forecast of Federally Funded Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Programs
Healthy Teen Network appreciates that our members and others who rely upon us for guidance are at varying levels of uncertainty regarding the status of funding of federal programs generally and adolescent reproductive and sexual health programs particularly. You are not alone: Healthy Teen Network has questions, too! We have made the requisite outreaches to federal executive branch officials, and our advocacy organization partners to glean “intelligence.”
Based on those communications as well as our ongoing monitoring of news reports, we offer the following status report and forecast.
Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Funding
Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 commenced October 1, 2016. Because the 114th Congress and the Obama Administration did not reach agreement on funding levels for federal discretionary programs (that is to say, programs whose funding amounts are set year-by-year) by October 1, Congress passed legislation, called a “continuing resolution” (CR), that authorized the federal government to continue to operate at FY 2016 funding levels.
In essence, there has been no disruption in federal government operations or services. Federal agencies are still, for example, writing regulations, conducting inspections of workplaces, maintaining national parks, and monitoring grantees and contractors.
The CR expires December 9, 2016. It is widely expected that the current 114th Congress will extend the CR through spring 2017 before it adjourns later this month of December. This extension will result in the new 115th Congress and the incoming Trump Administration making the final decisions on FY 2017 discretionary spending. Healthy Teen Network projects that the 115th Congress will rely on appropriations decisions that its predecessor, the 114th Congress, has already made (in private negotiations between House and Senate appropriations committees during summer 2016) rather than start over from scratch. Also, the Trump Administration will not be fully staffed until summer 2017, thereby limiting its clout in FY 2017 appropriations negotiations.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
Grantees of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) are operating currently with FY 2016 funds that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) awarded in July 2016.
TPPP grantees who do not expend the full amount of their FY 2016 award during the 12-month budget period, which ends June 30, 2017, may request no-cost extensions of their budget periods beyond June 30, 2017 through their OAH program officer.
Whether HHS will have ability to continue current TPPP grantees into a third budget period, and at what award amounts, depends on the overall funding amount that the 115th Congress decides to appropriate for the program. Final decisions on FY 2017 appropriations are not expected until spring 2017. Be assured that Healthy Teen Network and other national organizations that share our commitment to teen pregnancy prevention will be engaging directly with Congress and asking grantees and others to do the same with their U.S. Representatives and Senators, minimally to maintain the current TPPP appropriation level to permit grantees to continue and complete the five-year replication and innovation projects that they carefully designed and are already underway.
Personal Responsibility Education Program
Grantees of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) are operating currently with FY 2016 funds that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) awarded to them.
In early 2016, the 114th Congress re-authorized PREP through FY 2017 (ends September 30, 2017). That action permits FYSB to continue current awards and/or issue new awards to PREP grantees and applicants. We understand that FYSB will be issuing awards in December 2016. The budget period of the new awards will last through September 2018. Funding for PREP beyond that date requires Congress to reauthorize PREP, an action that Healthy Teen Network would support.
Pregnancy Assistance Fund
Grantees of the Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF) are operating currently with FY 2016 funds that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health awarded to them.
When Congress authorized PAF in 2010, it also provided an annual appropriation for the program through FY 2019 (ends September 30, 2019). That action permits OAH to issue renewal awards to current PAF grantees and issue new awards to PAF applicants. HHS will have authority to make PAF awards through FY 2019 unless Congress takes action to cut short the program’s authorization and appropriation. Healthy Teen Network would oppose any early termination of PAF.
Federal Fiscal Year 2018 Funding
Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 will commence October 1, 2017. Under regular order, the Trump Administration would present a proposed federal budget to Congress by early February. Then Congress would deliberate on said budget and pass FY 2018 appropriations laws by September 30, 2017.
Even in regular circumstances, Congress and presidential administrations have been unable to meet this timeline. With transfer of executive power from President Obama to President-elect Trump not official until January 20, 2017, and the incoming Administration not having its Cabinet and sub-Cabinet positions confirmed by Congress until spring 2017 at the earliest, there is no way that FY 2018 appropriations will run on regular order. Healthy Teen Network projects that Congress will run FY 2017 and FY 2018 appropriations near-simultaneously, with FY 2017 spending decisions completed by spring 2017 and FY 2018 spending settled by winter 2017.
For Our Young People
I leave you with this quotation of Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, one of the pioneers of relationship-centered care and integrative medicine. What apt advice for those of us with responsibility for securing resources—in these uncertain times—necessary for delivering programs and services so that all adolescents and young adults may lead healthy and fulfilling lives!
“The willingness to consider possibility requires a tolerance of uncertainty.”
Let us choose to concentrate on the possible!
About the Author
Bob Reeg, MPA, CVA, Program Development and Public Policy Consultant, is an accomplished nonprofit organization program director & public policy analyst and advocate, and an emerging social purpose entrepreneur.