Omnibus funding package includes several key Labor priorities


The $1.7 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act approved by Congress on Dec. 23 includes $25 million in new funding for the National Labor Relations Board to prevent furloughs at the cash-strapped agency, bringing its budget up to $299 million. The bill also provides funding for several key Labor priorities and workforce development programs, including:

  • Apprenticeship Funding – $285 million, an increase of $50 million, to support the apprenticeship program.
  • Early Education – $20 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion, for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Head Start.
  • K-12 Formula Grants – an increase of $850 million for Title I grants and an increase of $850 million for IDEA Grants to States.
  • Pell Maximum Award – a $500 increase to the maximum Pell award for a total of $7,395 for the 2023-2024 school year.

The funding package also includes key priorities of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), including:

  • Funding for implementing a new personnel system at the Transportation Security Administration, which will help bring Transportation Security Officers’ pay into line with the rest of the federal government, as well as new hiring and support for exit lane personnel.
  • Increased funding for the Social Security Administration, Federal Bureau of Prisons, National Science Foundation, and numerous other defense and non-defense agencies.
  • New mandatory funding to support the care of toxic-exposed veterans under the recently enacted “Honoring the PACT Act,” as well as increased funding for veterans’ health and benefits programs.
  • Defunding the VA Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission, which was designed to facilitate the closure of VA healthcare facilities, as well as adopting new language protecting rural VA facilities from future cuts.
  • Leaving intact a planned 4.6 percent federal pay raise set to go into effect on Jan. 1.

“The bill will help federal workers in a variety of agencies as they continue to tirelessly serve the American people,” said AFGE President Dr. Everett Kelley. “We are particularly pleased to see that Transportation Security Officers, who work night and day to keep us safe, will finally see improved wages and personnel practices.”

Passage of the omnibus spending measure followed months of negotiations between Congressional appropriators in both chambers. 

Fiscal Year 2022 ended on Sept. 30, and the government had been operating since then on a series of short-term funding bills. Passage was critical to prevent a government shutdown on Dec. 23.

Included in the omnibus funding package is $47.5 billion – an increase of $2.5 billion – for the National Institutes of Health, including funding for research and treatment as follows:

  • Alzheimer’s – An increase of $226 million for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research, bringing total funding to $3.74 billion.
  • Cancer – $7.32 billion for the National Cancer Institute, including full funding for the STAR Act, Childhood Cancer Data Registry, and an increase of $150 million for competitive cancer grants.
  • ALS – $75 million – an increase of $50 million – for Accelerating Access to Critical Therapies for ALS (ACT for ALS).

The funding measure also includes $5.27 billion – a $803.2 million increase – for mental health research, treatment, and prevention, including:

  • $385 million – an increase of $70 million – for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
  • $512 million for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suicide prevention activities, including $439.6 million for the recently launched 9-8-8 Suicide Lifeline, in addition to $62 million provided in P.L. 117-180.
  • $1.01 billion – an increase of $150 million – for the Mental Health Block Grants.
  • $111 million for school-based mental health grants at the Department of Education.

The measure also includes $4.9 billion – an increase of $296.7 million – for substance use prevention and treatment programs, including:

  • $1.58 billion – an increase of $50 million – for State Opioid Response grants.
  • $2.01 billion – an increase of $150 million – for the Substance Abuse Block Grant.
  • $1.42 billion – an increase of $76 million – for research related to opioids and pain.


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