HELENA — Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., has released the 2012 federal health, labor and education budget proposed before the U.S. House budget subcommittee that he chairs. Here are highlights of the proposal:
Health, human services
Health care reform: Blocks funding to implement the 2010 federal health reform law until all legal challenges to the law have concluded and rescinds more than $8.6 billion in mandated funds to carry out health reform programs under the federal law.
These provisions would cancel a substantial increase in funding for community health clinics, cancel funding for a new assisted-living insurance program, reduce funding to encourage physicians and other health providers to practice in rural areas and cut funding for research on the cost effectiveness of certain medical treatments.
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Planned Parenthood: Prohibits any public funding for Planned Parenthood unless the organization certifies it will not provide abortions. Federal law already bans using federal funds for abortion, but Planned Parenthood uses public funding to provide reproductive health services, such as contraception, pelvic exams and pregnancy tests.
Title X family planning funding: Eliminates this 40-year-old, $300 million program that distributes federal funds to family planning clinics, including those run by Planned Parenthood. Montana has 27 of these clinics, which serve mostly low-income women.
Low-income home heating assistance: Cuts $1.3 billion from last year’s budget of $4.7 billion, but sets it at a level that is $822 million more than requested by the president.
National Institutes of Health: Increases by $1 billion to an annual total of $31.7 billion, supporting about 9,000 research grants, an increase of 450 from last year.
Pell grants (for higher education assistance): Maintains the maximum federal Pell grant for low-income students at $5,550, but cuts overall funding for the program by $3.6 billion, or 10 percent. Tightens eligibility requirements for the program.
Head Start: Increases funding for this program that helps low-income, preschool-aged kids by about $540 million, to serve the same number of children this year as it did last year.
Special education: Increases by $1.2 billion, or 10 percent, the grants to states for special education, which is aid to school districts for educating the disabled.
Title I education funding: Increases by $1 billion, or 7 percent, these grants to local school districts to help children become proficient in reading and math. The funds are distributed based on the number of low-income students in a district.
AmeriCorps and the Corporation of National and Community Service: Eliminates most funding in this area, including the money for AmeriCorps, the national service agency that’s existed since 1993.
Job Corps: Maintains current funding for the Job Corps, at about $1.7 billion a year.
Job training: Makes accounting changes for the fiscal year, but leaves most funding for these programs largely intact, and increases funds for job training for military veterans.
National Labor Relations Board: Cuts funding for this agency, which enforces labor and organizing laws at the workplace, by $49 million, or 17 percent. Also has restrictions to block rule-making that would make it easier for unions to organize.