Public Policy Update

This Public Policy Office (PPO) update reviews the final federal appropriations funding for FY 2002 of interest to psychology in the areas of public interest, science and education. Congress supported many of the programs advocated by PPO, but not always to the funding level requested, indicating the need for renewed lobbying efforts by APA and its members.

Due to space constraints we're unable to describe programmatic initiatives in detail, but please see the PPO Web sites referred to below for additional information.

Public Interest Policy

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The FY 2002 budget for SAMHSA includes an increase of $180 million for mental health and substance abuse services, yielding $3.1 billion for the agency. The funding levels for key programs advocated by PPO's Public Interest Policy staff are highlighted below:

  • Mental Health Services. The Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) received $433 million for the Mental Health Block Grant, an increase of $13 million above FY 2001. The Child Mental Health Initiative received $96.7 million, an increase of $5 million over last year. A total of $20 million, twice the amount in FY 2001, was provided for mental health services to children and youth suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, $95 million was provided for the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative--$5 million more than last year. A National Suicide Prevention Resource Center will be created with $3 million to provide technical assistance in developing, evaluating and implementing effective suicide-prevention programs.

  • Substance Abuse Services. The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) received $1.7 billion for the Performance Partnership Block Grant, an increase of $60 million above FY 2001. In addition, for Programs of Regional and National Significance, CSAT received $291.5 million, an increase of $35 million, whereas the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention received $198 million, an increase of almost $23 million above FY 2001.

  • HIV/AIDS. In a SAMHSA-wide endeavor, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative received a total of $102 million in FY 2002: $7 million from CMHS, $57 million from CSAT and $38 million from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. On a related front, the Health Resources and Services Administration received $1.8 billion for the Ryan White CARE Act for FY 2002, an increase of $110 million over last year. This act funds primary care and support services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS who lack health insurance and financial resources.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) strives to prevent death and disability from non-occupational injuries, including those that are unintentional and those that result from violence. NCIPC received $2 million to expand its work to better understand the scope of child abuse and neglect and its consequences, in such areas as child fatality review systems, state data collection and prevention. The center also received $1.5 million for a recently created National Violent Death Reporting System to gather information on the circumstances of violent deaths and develop effective methods of prevention and intervention.

CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health received $2 million for its Education and Research Centers to expand research targeting all aspects of workplace violence.

Administration for Children and Families (ACF). ACF is responsible for about 60 programs, including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), child support, Head Start and child welfare. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act lost more than $6 million in research and discretionary funding, bringing the total funding level to $26.2 million. The Safe and Stable Families Program, which funds family preservation and related counseling services, received a $70 million increase to $375 million.

The Social Services Block Grant provides states with flexible funding to assist low-income children, people with disabilities and seniors through such activities as counseling, case management, transportation and child care. Congress cut FY 2002 funding for this program to $1.7 billion--a $25 million decrease. This represents an overall reduction of $1.1 billion in the last five years.

U.S. Department of Justice. Congress decreased funding for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention programs by $500,000 to $278.5 million. Although funding for the Title V Grants for Delinquency Prevention program also remained relatively constant, earmarks will have the effect of reducing funding available for new delinquency prevention grants from $42.5 million to $30.3 million.

Science Policy

National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH received another 15.7 percent increase in January in the fourth year of a five-year track to double its budget. This year, the total appropriation was $23.6 billion, with an average increase of 15.7 percent per institute or center. Some of the monies may be shifted at the discretion of the NIH acting director, but APA-supplied report language accompanying the final bill should shape the programmatic activities at several institutes with transitional leadership. For example, in the area of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, PPO encouraged research on adolescent and college alcohol use, behavioral interventions to stem the transition to alcohol dependence, and research to identify predictors of children at risk of developing alcohol dependence in later life. 

National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF will receive $4.8 billion overall, an increase of 8.4 percent over FY 2001 funding. Within that overall amount, NSF's Research and Related Activities account will rise 7.4 percent over current funding to $3.35 billion. These increases come as good news following initial disappointment last spring when President Bush requested an increase for NSF of slightly more than 1 percent. In fact, under the Bush administration plan, a huge increase ($200 million) would go to the Education and Human Resources Directorate for a new Math and Science Partnerships program, leaving NSF's research account facing an actual decrease in support. Unfortunately, despite the substantial increase from Congress in this new NSF budget, the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate will end up with the smallest increase in its budget of any of the directorates (2.7 percent compared with increases for most of 8 percent or more).

Department of Defense (DoD). For the first time, the DoD investment in Science and Technology, which encompasses basic and applied research and advanced technology development, will surpass the $10 billion mark in FY 2002. DoD basic research will see a 5 percent increase in FY 2002, bringing the total to $1.4 billion, and applied research will increase 14.6 percent to $4.2 billion. PPO's Science Policy staff will continue to monitor how the funds are distributed within the program accounts for both extramural and intramural funding.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). PPO's Science Policy staff partnered with the Friends of VA Medical Research coalition last year to advocate for increased funding for research within the VA. After several years of flat or minimal increases, the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research account will get a 6 percent increase in FY 2002, rising from $350 million to $371 million. PPO Science Policy staff were successful in securing legislative report language encouraging the VA to pay more attention to mental health research through the creation of more Mental Illness Research and Evaluation Centers.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA received a 4.5 percent increase over FY 2001, for a total of $14.5 billion. But, as in previous years, the heavily earmarked budget and an internal shuffling of funds may paint an artificially rosy picture. Although the Biology and Physical Research (BPR) account (formerly known as Life and Microgravity Sciences) received an apparent boost, much of that reflects the addition of Space Station research funds to the BPR account so that, in fact, the ground- and space-based behavioral research funding has actually decreased slightly. The Aero-Space Technology account (housing NASA's human factors research on aviation safety) received a 12.4 percent increase, topping out at $2.5 billion.

Education Policy

Health Professions Education & Training Programs. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) received an increase of $546 million, bringing its total to $6.1 billion, despite the Bush administration's request to reduce funding by $562 million. HRSA programs include the Bureaus of Health Professions, Primary Health Care, Maternal and Child Health, HIV/AIDS and Rural Health.

Bureau of Health Professions. The FY 2002 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations conference report included $2 million to establish a graduate psychology education program to train health-service psychologists in accredited psychology programs nationwide (see related article). The result of a coordinated federal advocacy campaign led by PPO's Education Policy staff, this critical program will establish a competitive grant process to train health-service psychologists providing health care services to underserved populations, including rural persons, children and older adults.

Health Professions programs received $378 million, an increase of approximately $25 million over the FY 2001 level. These programs provide both policy leadership and support to students, programs, departments and institutions to improve the accessibility, quality, and racial and ethnic diversity of the health-care work force.

National Health Service Corps. This program received $142.5 million to assist underserved communities in meeting their primary, oral and mental health service needs by offering placement and recruitment incentives to health professionals. This reflected an increase of $13.1 million over the FY 2001 level and $12.1 million above the budget request. This increase allows for a greater emphasis on placing psychologists and other mental and behavioral health professionals in underserved areas in exchange for college loan repayments.

Federal Education Programs. Federal education programs received an increase in FY 2002, with $48.9 billion appropriated for education. Programs receiving the greatest increases were those that the president promoted as a cornerstone for his proposal to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, entitled the "No Child Left Behind Act."

Elementary and Secondary School Programs. The Safe and Drug Free Schools Program provides federal funds to states and school districts for research-based drug and violence prevention programs, as well as programs to improve school safety. It received level funding of $644 million in FY 2002. The Elementary School Counseling Program provides critical resources to local school districts to expand and improve counseling services to students. It also received level funding of $32.5 million in FY 2002.

Higher Education Programs. The Federal Work Study program, which provides funds to participating institutions of higher education for needy undergraduate and graduate students who work in part-time jobs for their aid, received $1 billion in FY 2002. The Graduate Assistance in the Areas of National Need/Javits Fellowship Program supports fellowships for graduate studies for outstanding students in areas of national need and in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. They received $31 million and $10 million, respectively, in FY 2002--the same funding levels for FY 2001.

Education Research. The Research, Statistics and Improvement account includes funding for educational research, regional education labs, national assessments and statistics--initiatives that are overseen by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI). The research, statistics and assessment programs under OERI received $385.8 million in FY 2002--an $80.3 million increase from the previous year.

Further Reading

In this election year, PPO anticipates significant legislative challenges affecting psychology in the areas of science, public interest and education. We will continue to send Action Alerts through the Public Policy Advocacy Network (PPAN) for your information and civic involvement. Please visit our Web site, APA Government Relations, periodically for updated information or to sign up for PPAN announcements.