Social Innovation Fund Cut, Other Evidence Programs Funded in Senate Spending Bill

The Social Innovation Fund would be defunded under a FY 2017 spending bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 9.

However, the bill included funding for other evidence-based programs, including $120 million for the successor to the Department of Education’s i3 program, called the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program. The bill also provided $101 million for the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP), according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) has been routinely defunded by congressional Republicans in previous years at this stage of the appropriations process, only to see its funding restored in later negotiations with President Obama. Like many of the administration’s evidence-based initiatives, it is closely associated with the president and opposed by many congressional Republicans primarily on that basis.

The results of such negotiations are not automatically benign, however. Last year, SIF’s spending was reduced from $70 million to $50 million.

Meanwhile, one of the SIF’s selling points to congressional Republicans — its pay for success program — may be lost if Congress enacts separate legislation sponsored by Reps. Todd Young (R-IN) and John Delaney (D-MD). That bill has already been approved by the House Ways and Means Committee and there is a companion bill in the Senate. The legislation would shift much of the federal government’s work on pay-for-success to the Treasury Department, with unknown consequences for SIF.

Unlike in past years, President Obama will probably not be in office when final negotiations occur on this bill. Spending legislation during presidential election years is often delayed until after the election and handled in negotiations with the new administration. SIF’s fate may ultimately depend on the outcome of the presidential election this fall.


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