The outlook related to government grants will be clearer in the next couple of months as the Trump Administration sets a target date of October 1st to approve the 2018 Federal budget to prevent a government shutdown. As of now, the budget is still in negotiation and committees are approving their versions of spending bills to be considered. Nothing has been finalized yet that will give us further insight into the future of government grant programs. However, there are a few things that could be considered positive when comparing what is being approved by committees and the massive slashes that were proposed in the budget blueprint released in March.
Many programs that appeared to be on the chopping block, like ArtWorks from NEA and CDBG grants, appear to have been left untouched. Funders are still moving forward with business as usual, continuing with the competitions and reviews as if the programs are not in danger of being eliminated. According to U.S. World News and Reports, the House Appropriations Committee is holding true to protecting the Department of Education budget as much as possible by snubbing the Administration’s request for increased funding for school choice and only slashing the budget by $2.4 billion rather than the $9.2 billion as proposed in the blueprint. The new Department of Education Secretary, Betsy Devoss made a major move to allow grant applications that had been thrown out of the Upward Bound competition due to minor formatting technicalities to be reviewed and move forward in the competition, which may lead to a new approach to reducing strict formatting guidelines within grant competitions.
At the end of July, the Human Rights Campaign reported the House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill that allocates funding for domestic HIV & AIDS and sex education programs. The Trump Administration proposed a $1 billion dollar cut to these programs, however lawmakers voted to continue funding the Ryan White Program and CDC HIV prevention efforts at their 2017 levels of $2.3 billion and $788 million respectively. Not all programs fared as well. $17 million dollars was cut from a Minority AIDS program made available through SAMHSA. The bill also eliminated funding for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs (TPPP) though increased funding for the competitive abstinence-only-until-marriage program. The bill now awaits action by the full house.
The National Endowment of the Arts and Humanities’ budget has fared better than was expected based on the President’s budget blueprint and proposal to eliminate both agencies, only taking a $5 million dollar cut each. The Department of Labor is still waiting to find out how much of their budget will be cut. The Administration proposed a 20% cut from $12.1 billion to $9.7 billion, most of which would come out of workforce training programs. However, there would be an increase in funding for programs that investigate misconduct in private sector unions. Also, an Executive Order signed by the President doubles the amount of grant funds available for apprenticeships, but no additional funding has been set aside for these types of programs.
The outcomes of the 2018 budget will be clearer in the coming months. At that time, it will be in the hands of the Federal Departments that are tasked with dispersing the money through the appropriate programs. It is likely that grant program competition timelines will be slightly shifted as they have been in previous years when Federal budget negotiations went longer than expected.
As you start to plan for 2018 find out what your best grant opportunities will be with a Grant Opportunity Report. This comprehensive report will help your organization plan and prepare for the year ahead.