Raleigh, N.C. – The state House of Representatives approved an appropriations bill Wednesday ensuring state spending that meets federal grant matching requirements was appropriated before those funds were obstructed by the Governor’s budget veto.
House Bill 961 Ensuring Authorization of Federal Funds was sent to the Governor after receiving final legislative passage in a unanimous 112-0 vote of the state House concurring with the measure already approved by the North Carolina Senate.
The legislation provides for the allocation of approximately $1 billion in federal block grants for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in each year of the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium.
The spending items are nearly identical to provisions in the state budget originally approved by the North Carolina General Assembly but must be approved immediately to meet federal funding requirements.
“The Governor already blocked pay raises and capital projects that our communities need today,” said Senior House Appropriations Chairman Jason Saine (R-Lincoln). “The state must meet its obligations for federal grants or risk more consequences of the Governor’s single-issue ultimatum to expand Medicaid like he demands, or else face the consequences.”
“This is no way to treat working taxpayers who paid for the same state budget funds being withheld from their communities. Securing federal grants by meeting requirements North Carolina already agreed to fund is essential to avoid further harm.”
H.B. 961 also sets forth the allocation of $48.3 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds for the Department of Commerce in each year of the biennium.
It further increases the recurring appropriation to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds in order to maximize federal matching funding for these programs.
These increases are identical to original state budget provisions and will draw down a combined $18.1 million in federal funding.
“These are priorities that the General Assembly’s bipartisan state budget meets, along with billions of dollars for school construction, another round of pay raises, and public safety funds that were senselessly blocked by the Governor’s veto,” said Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).
“We hope these tax dollars can reach our state’s communities soon.”
North Carolina’s government is still operating on a $23 billion continuing budget under a state law that allows appropriations to continue at previous levels in the absence of a new spending agreement.
H.B. 961 states that its provisions will prevail if there is any conflict with the continuing budget authority granted by the State Budget Act.