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NAMI E-News White House Releases FY 2002 Budget

NAMI E-News April 9, 2001 Vol. 01-92

WHITE HOUSE RELEASES DETAILS OF FY 2002 BUDGET, $131 MILLION INCREASES PROPOSED FOR NIMH, FREEZE PROPOSED FOR MENTAL HEALTH BLOCK GRANT AND PATH PROGRAMS

As is being widely reported in the press, President Bush today laid out his detailed $1.96 trillion budget plan for FY 2002 with major increases proposed for biomedical research and level funding for health service and support programs.In February, the President released the broad outlines of his budget plan with few details.The proposal unveiled today includes spending requests for all federal programs for FY 2002 that Congress will act on through appropriations bills that must be enacted by October 1, 2001 (the first day of the new fiscal year).

Overall, President Bush is proposing to increase federal discretionary spending by 4%.However, not every federal program and agency would receive this 4% increase under the President's plan.Key Administration priorities - biomedical research, education - are slated for increases far above 4%.As a result, other domestic discretionary programs are subject to increases below 4%, flat funding or modest cuts.Most of the programs targeted for cuts are those that received increases above inflation over the past few years.

NIMH

For FY 2002, the President is proposing $1.238 billion for scientific and clinical research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).This is a $131 million increase over the agency's FY 2001 level of$1.107 billion - a proposed 10.6% increase.The President is proposing an overall boost for NIH of $2.8 billion in FY 2002 (up 11.8% to $23.2 billion).This is consistent with the bipartisan goal of doubling the NIH budget over the five-year period of 1998 to 2003.

However, it appears that the 10.6% increase for NIMH places the agency at, or near, the bottom of the recommended increases for all other NIH institutes.As Congress moves forward with budget negotiations, NAMI will be advocating a percent increase for NIMH that at the very minimum is equal to the average percent increase for the other NIH institutes.

NAMI has endorsed the goal of doubling the NIH and NIMH budgets and supports the efforts of the Bush Administration to continue moving toward this goal.NAMI provided detailed views on NIMH's proposed budget for FY 2002 as part of testimony delivered to the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee on March 29 by NAMI President Jackie Shannon.The entire text of this testimony can be viewed at http://www.nami.org/update/hhsfy2002ap.html.    

CMHS

The Administration's budget proposes to freeze most programs at Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).This includes funding for the Mental Health Block Grant ($420 million), PATH services for the homeless mentally ill ($36.9 million), Childrens Mental Health ($91.8 million) and PAIMI protection and advocacy ($25.9 million).The Administration is proposing a modest $16 million reduction for CMHS's own $203 million discretionary budget - known as "Projects of Regional and National Significance."The budget does not state which specific activities at CMHS would be targeted for reduction.However, it is expected that those items in the CMHS portfolio that increased substantially in recent years such as school violence prevention (which grew from $0 to $90 million from FY 1999 to FY 2001) would be the most vulnerable.

NAMI is concerned that the Bush Administration has not proposed increases for any of CMHS's state formula grant programs as part of its FY 2002 budget plan. State mental health agencies and local public mental health authorities continue to struggle to keep pace with increased demand for services in the community from children and adults with severe mental illnesses.Programs such as the Mental Health Block Grant and PATH provide important resources to these public agencies seeking to replicate evidence-based programs such as programs of assertive community treatment (PACT) that target individuals with the most severe and disabling mental illnesses.

The Administration's budget provides few details on which programs and grants at CMHS will be reduced to achieve $16 million in savings.The detailed budget simply states that $11 million would come from non-renewal of one-year projects currently underway and $5 million would come from ongoing grants that expire in FY 2001.

As deliberations on the Bush budget move forward, NAMI will be working with the Bush Administration and Congress to ensure that any reductions within CMHS's own discretionary budget serve as an opportunity to realign priorities at the agency.In particular, NAMI will be urging Congress and HHS to refocus CMHS's priorities toward assisting states in replicating evidence-based service models that target children and adults with severe mental illnesses.Additional information on NAMI's views on the CMHS budget for FY 2002 can be found at http://www.nami.org/update/20010408.html

HUD

The Bush Administration is proposing to freeze, or slightly reduce most programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).This includes most programs of concern to non-elderly adults with severe mental illnesses.For example, the Section 811 program is proposed for level funding at $217 million (75% of Section 811 funds go toward capital advances and project-based assistance to non-profit groups to build and manage housing for people with disabilities).In addition to freezing funding for Section 811, the Administration is proposing to cap the amount of funds that go to tenant-based assistance (rather than capital advances/project-based subsidies) at 25% of program funds.

The President's budget is also proposing to freeze funding for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Program at $1.02 billion, while keeping the 30% permanent housing set aside and 25% local services match in place.In addition, the budget proposes to continue the separate $100 million account at HUD to finance renewal of all expiring rent subsidies under the Shelter Plus Care program under McKinney-Vento.Finally, the President's budget does include funding for renewal of all expiring Section 8 rent subsidies and proposes an additional 34,000 new Section 8 vouchers (also known as incremental rental assistance).However, no funds are proposed for set aside Section 8 vouchers targeted to non-elderly people with disabilities adversely affected by "elderly only" designations of public and assisted housing.Congress allocated $40 million for this purpose in FY 2001.Instead, the Administration plans to provide unspecified incentives to public housing authorities to make vouchers available from their existing resources.

Details on NAMI's views on the FY 2002 HUD budget were included in testimony delivered to the House VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee last week.In particular, NAMI supports:increases for Section 811 (with the tenant-based portion limited to 25%), a set aside of Section 8 vouchers for people with disabilities adversely affected by "elderly only" designation of public and assisted housing and increases for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants (with transfer of expiring Shelter Plus Care and SHP permanent housing rent subsidies to the Housing Certificate Fund).The full text of this testimony is being posted to the NAMI website and will be available at http://www.nami.org

VA

The Bush Administration is proposing $23.4 billion for discretionary spending in FY 2002 for the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA), which includes funding for veterans' health benefits and other services.This is an increase of 2% (or $345 million) over the agencies FY 2001 level of $23 billion.However, much of this increase will be consumed simply by the rate of inflation.The Independent Budget, a comprehensive policy document developed by the Veterans Service Organizations and endorsed by NAMI, recommends an increase in discretionary spending to $25.8 billion dollars.The Administration's proposal falls short of the recommendation of the Independent Budget by $2.4 billion.Also, included in the Administration's proposal is a recommended increase of $28 million for FY 2002 for inpatient psychiatric services, and an overall increase of 3% in psychiatric care for veterans.

The Administration has proposed a 3% increase for research appropriations in FY 2002 (a $10 million dollar increase over FY 2001).VA research programs have made important contributions in areas of medicine and health that benefit veterans with severe mental illness.Increases in mental illness research have remained relatively flat over the past decade and significant increases are needed to cover the rising costs in wages, supplies, and to meet the demands and guidelines for patient safety.The proposed FY 2002 budget amount of $360 million dollars is $35 million less then the recommendation made by the Independent Budget.NAMI strongly supports the recommendation of the Independent Budget and advocates further that the majority of this suggested increase should support mental illness research.

Details on NAMI's views on the FY 2002 VA budget were included in testimony delivered to the House VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee last week.The full text of this testimony is currently being posted on the NAMI web site and will be available in the next few days at http://www.nami.org.

 


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