By Jen Curt, CTIPP's Director of Government Affairs
A Summer of Legislating
August is usually a quiet month in Washington, D.C. as Members of Congress head home for the month. However, this year, Congress has remained active in the nation’s capital, passing and enacting the Inflation Reduction Act, Honoring Our PACT Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act.
Climate, Health Care, Tax Reconciliation Bill Will Become Law – After more than a year of negotiations on a reconciliation bill (formerly under the name Build Back Better Act), this month, the U.S. House and Senate passed reconciliation legislation with every Democrat voting in support. The bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, now heads to President Biden’s desk, and he is expected to sign it shortly.
Reconciliation is a process used to pass legislation that only changes spending, revenues, and/or the federal debt limit. Unlike most legislation (subject to the Senate filibuster, and therefore requires 60 yes votes to pass) the budget reconciliation process only requires a simple majority (in this case, a yes vote from all 50 Democratic Senators with the Vice President as the tie-breaking vote in favor).
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will:
Lower drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of medicine and capping annual out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions.
Increase energy production, including cash incentives to purchase electric vehicles and tax breaks to help build renewable energy sources. The bill also provides $60 billion in climate resiliency funding to cities disproportionately affected by climate change.
Enact a 15% minimum tax on the largest corporations
Visit this link for more information on these and other provisions.
To arrive at a compromise on reconciliation legislation that could pass, many components of the Build Back Better Act were dropped from the Inflation Reduction Act, including investments in housing, child care, paid family leave, and funding for trauma-informed community coalitions. We continue to advocate for funding for trauma-informed community coalitions in other legislative packages.
Veterans Health Bill Becomes Law, Following Unexpected Delay – On August 2nd, CTIPP applauded the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act, bipartisan legislation that will provide healthcare for 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxins during their military service. Toxic exposure from contaminated water, airborne hazards from burn pits, and radiation from atomic testing have been linked to health problems such as cancer. This bill will make treatment more easily accessible to veterans.
Notably, the legislation requires a study to assess “possible relationships between toxic exposures experienced during service in the Armed Forces and mental health conditions, including chronic multi-symptom illness, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, episodes of psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicide attempts, and suicide deaths.” This is a critical investment toward understanding and supporting veterans with PTSD, depression, and other conditions.
Senate Democrats Release Their FY23 Draft Spending Bill – Wins!
Late last month, the Senate Democrats released their Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations legislation. Victories for the trauma-informed movement included:
2X Funding for the Interagency Task Force on Trauma-Informed Care: The Senate bill included $2 million for the task force, doubling last year’s appropriation. CTIPP requested $8.3M and will continue to advocate for increased funding for this critical body which is currently developing best practices and guidance on trauma-informed care.
$1 Billion to Increase School-Based Mental Health Support: CTIPP and advocates requested $1 billion across two programs aimed at training and retaining school-based mental health professionals and encouraging them to use trauma-informed practices. The full $1 billion was included in the Senate bill.
Adverse Childhood Experiences Research at the CDC: CTIPP requested $15 million and the full $15 million was included in the Senate bill.
Next steps? When Congress returns from its August recess, they will continue marking up and voting on these bills. Following, both Chambers will conference to negotiate a compromise on FY23 spending. Current funding expires September 30th, 2022 and it is not likely a final deal will be reached and passed by then, leading Congress to consider passing stop-gap funding while negotiations continue.
Need a refresher or briefing on the Appropriations process or how to get involved? Sign up for Chat & Chew to talk 1:1 with Jen, Director of Government Affairs.
Senate Advances Bill to Address Second-hand Trauma for Providers Working with Human Trafficking Victims
In August, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Relations unanimously passed S. 4611, the IMPACTT Human Trafficking Act, which would make permanent and expand Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Victim Assistance Program that helps provide support to individuals impacted by human trafficking. The bill would also make permanent an existing program that ensures the well-being of HSI employees and partners who are exposed to repeated stress and associated trauma through their work to support victims and investigate these horrific crimes.
Second hand trauma is prevalent among Department of Homeland Security employees who work with victims of human trafficking. This legislation would provide ongoing training in trauma science, allowing participating employees to process how trauma impacts them and those they serve.
August Midterm Elections
This month, 15 states will hold their midterm primary elections to determine each party’s nominee heading into the November 2022 elections. Congressional campaigns have kicked into high gear, as midterms approach and Members of Congress will hold even more events in their states and districts throughout the month.
This is a great time to ask where your representative stands on trauma-related issues. Check out our infographics for talking points on topics like: the cost of ACEs, trauma-informed policies work (by the numbers), and using a public health approach to address trauma. If you ask a policymaker a question and have it on video, please send the clip to Laura@traumacampaign.org.
SAMHSA Announces Funding Opportunities for FY 2023
Check out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) forecasted upcoming grants, including the following:
National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative – Category III, Community Treatment and Services (CTS) Centers
Community Programs for Outreach and Intervention with Youth and Young Adults at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis
Law Enforcement and Behavioral Health Partnerships for Early Diversion
Need advice on applying for government grants? Reach out to Jen@traumacampaign.org.