As reported by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on February 22, 2016
S. 524 would establish programs in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and in the Department of Justice (DOJ) to improve the treatment of individuals with substance abuse disorders principally by authorizing the appropriation of funds for grants to expand drug treatment and recovery programs.
CBO assumes that the legislation will be enacted during fiscal year 2016. The bill would specifically authorize the appropriation of $312 million over the 2016-2021 period for programs in HHS and DOJ. The bill also would authorize the Secretary of HHS to award grants through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The authority for SAMHSA’s grant programs expired in 2003. However, the Congress has continued to appropriate funds each year. Based on historical spending for such programs, CBO estimates that authorizing the grants would require appropriations of $413 million over the 2017-2021 period.
Assuming appropriation of the authorized and estimated amounts, CBO estimates that implementing S. 524 would result in discretionary spending of $571 million over the 2016-2021 period. CBO also estimates that enacting the bill would increase direct spending by $2 million over the 2016-2021 period because it would allow DOJ to spend funds that were previously appropriated that would not otherwise spend.
Because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues. CBO estimates that enacting S. 524 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
S. 524 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. State, local, and tribal governments would benefit from grants authorized in the bill to address epidemics of abuse in prescription opioid use and heroin. Any costs to these governments would be incurred voluntarily as a condition of receiving federal assistance.