Senate moves Labor, Health bill with 25 percent higher funding than House

Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said his bill provides 18.6 million more meals for needy seniors, funds studies for 6 million more students and serves 275,000 more children in Head Start than would be possible under the House allocation.

The Harkin draft includes a $1.6 billion increase for Head Start, $400 million for new Race to the Top incentives to get states to bolster college completion, $700 million more for community health centers, and $534 million more than in 2013 to administer Social Security. It nearly doubles to $290 million funding for Community Transformation Grants, which are used to incentivize anti-obesity and anti-smoking campaigns.

Harkin has long been a leading champion of preventive medicine. 

Subcommittee ranking member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) appeared supportive of the Harkin draft, but it remains to be seen whether he will vote against it in full committee. So far this year, Republican appropriators have been split in full committee on the Democratic 2014 bill, which combined have $91 billion more in spending than the House is contemplating.

Unless the 2011 Budget Control Act is changed, all the spending in the 2014 bills would be cut to the $91 billion lower level by a process of sequestration after this session of Congress ends.