MEMO: $11.9M Boost in Funding is the Latest Result Of NH Delegation’s Push for Increased Federal Opioid Response Dollars

March 26, 2019

Last week, New Hampshire got a welcome boost in funding for opioid treatment. Like the $22.9 million dollar per year increase announced last year, this news is also the result of Senator Jeanne Shaheen and New Hampshire’s federal delegation’s years of work across the aisle for a stronger federal response to the opioid crisis. 

In 2015, in response to local law enforcement, first responders, and community organizations raising the alarm about a horrifying increase in opioid related overdoses and deaths, Shaheen is the first to call for emergency funding to tackle the opioid epidemic, and is quickly seen as the leader in Congress on delivering resources to tackle the crisis. Her legislation would have provided $600 million in funding immediately to the front lines of the epidemic. However, Republican leadership in the Senate blocked this initial proposal and a subsequent effort by Senator Shaheen.  

Undeterred, Senator Shaheen followed this effort by playing a leading role in all four major pieces of legislation dealing with opioid funding enacted by Congress since 2015; the 21st Century Cures Act, The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the FY 2018 Omnibus appropriations law, and the FY2019 Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations law. 

Additionally, earlier this month, she led a letter with the entire New Hampshire delegation asking President Trump to continue funding the State Opioid Response grants, which was originally established through the 21st Century Cures Act—and increased and refined by the FY 2018 Omnibus and FY 2019 HHS appropriations. 

Here is a timeline of Senator Shaheen’s work on those on those critical initiatives as well as details on how the Granite State was awarded this additional $11.9 million:

  • 2016 - 2017: The 21st Century Cures Act Passes, Provides $500 Million Per Year Nationally, Including $3.1 Million Per Year for NH
    • The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law by President Obama in December 2016-- this legislation was supported by Senator Shaheen who fought to include $1 billion in funding for grants to states for opioid treatment over the next two years-- the first significant targeted investment in opioid treatment resources by Congress. The Cures Act provided $500 million per year nationally for state grants for opioid treatment each year. Due to issues with the funding formula that was used by both the Obama and Trump administrations, this grant program yielded $3.1 million per year for New Hampshire in 2017 and 2018. Shaheen and Hassan led efforts to change the formula, so that it more sufficiently prioritized small states with high overdose death rates, like New Hampshire.

"The president doesn’t just have a checkbook in his back pocket. The last time I checked, Congress has to stand up and provide appropriations. That’s how the system works." -- Governor Chris Sununu on need for more opioid funding 

  • 2018: Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 Calls for $6 Billion in Government-wide Investments in Opioid Response
    • Senators Shaheen and Hassan set an ambitious goal as budget negotiations began and successfully negotiated a big commitment to provide an additional $6 billion over two years to fight the crisis and aid law enforcement, first responders and treatment providers. Shaheen and Hassan also secured an agreement to better prioritize the hardest hit states.

“Shaheen and Hassan had pressed for $25 billion in additional funding to fight the epidemic, and according to sources, by setting the bar high, they were able to help secure the $6 billion.” – WMUR News

  • 2018: Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Government Funding Bill Passes, Provides $1 Billion More for Grants in 2018 in addition to the $500 Million in the Cures Act, Adding $22.9 Million More for NH
    • As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Shaheen ensured that the Bipartisan Budget Act agreement was reflected in 2018 appropriations legislation by providing $1 billion in addition grant funding for state opioid treatment grants.
    • In addition, to follow through on the promise to better help areas of the country with high overdose death rates, Shaheen successfully negotiated for a provision that sets aside 15 percent of this new funding exclusively for states with the highest opioid overdose death rates, like New Hampshire.
    • Also, the Trump administration agreed to change the funding formula for the remaining 85 percent of the funds to better help hardest hit states with high overdose death rates.
    • Altogether, the $500 million in 2018 funding from the Cures Act, combined with the new $1 billion in funding derived from 2018 omnibus funding bill, the 15 percent set-aside for hardest-hit states, and the change to the funding formula, delivered New Hampshire a more than eight fold increase in opioid funding in 2018, totaling $26 million.
  • 2019: Congress Provides: $1.5 Billion Nationally, Including $34.8 Million for NH
    • The funding from the Cures Act has expired. At Senator Shaheen’s urging, Congress, through the appropriations process, agrees to increase the State Opioid Response grant funding by $500 million to offset the Cures Act funding ending.  This maintains the total federal funding level of $1.5 billion for the state grants. However -- and this is the important part -- all $1.5 billion is now subject to the 15 percent set-aside that Congress under Shaheen’s leadership established last year, where as in the previous year only $1 billion was. Due to this key change from funding provided by the Cures Act  to funding provided through appropriations legislation, New Hampshire received an extra $11.9 Million last week, in addition to the $22.9 Million the state is in line to receive later this year.  

“This week’s funding awards to states were possible because of legislation Congress passed and President Trump signed…” – HHS Secretary Alex Azar on the funding awarded to states last week.

What Granite Staters are Saying…

"Let me tell you, the federal delegation deserves a lot of credit, for not just getting more money but getting it done the right way... God bless you, it's a constant battle." -- Governor Chris Sununu, May 25th, 2018 

As a small nonprofit, I'm thinking bake sales,” – Dr. Daisy Pierce of Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region when asked by Senator Shaheen at a Senate hearing if there was any recourse if federal opioid treatment grants run out.

A Breakdown of Federal Opioid Funding For New Hampshire:

Year

21st Century Cures Grants (Not Subject To 15% Set Aside)

State Opioid Response (SOR) Grants (Subject to 15% Set Aside)

Total Federal Opioid Funding for NH

FY 2017

$3.1 Million

N/A

$3.1 Million

FY 2018

$3.1 Million

$22.9 Million

$26 Million

FY 2019

NA

$34.8 Million

$34.8Million

FY 2020

NA

TBD

TBD