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  • Washington Highlights

    House Passes Individual Spending Bills, No Movement to End Partial Shutdown

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
    Christa Wagner, Manager, Government Relations

    With several federal agencies shut down since their appropriations expired Dec. 21, 2018, the House Jan. 17 approved by voice vote a continuing resolution (CR) for the unfunded federal agencies and Cabinet departments through Feb. 28 (H.J. Res 28). 

    However, the vote on the six-week CR was vacated following members’ requests to record the vote. The House will hold a recorded vote on this measure the week of Jan. 21.

    The House since Jan. 3 has favorably passed seven funding bills with different strategies for funding the government, including a package containing the remaining spending bills from the 115th Congress, full-year spending bills for individual agencies, and a $14 billion disaster aid bill in conjunction with a six week CR. The series of House votes follows attempts to prevent a partial shutdown by both chambers at the end of the 115th Congress.

    Senate Democrats Jan. 15 asked to take up the House-passed funding bills but were blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has indicated he will not bring bills to the Senate floor unless the president says he will sign them into law.

    The AAMC Jan. 17 joined a community letter to President Trump along with 280 co-signatories citing the health impacts of the government shutdown and urging the president and Congress to immediately reopen the government. While most agencies and programs within the Department of Health and Human Services are not affected by the shutdown, the Food and Drug Administration, Indian Health Service, and other health-related programs fall under the jurisdiction of different spending bills that have not yet been completed, leading to their closure.

    In the letter, the community wrote, “A prolonged shutdown will continue to put the health and safety of the nation’s residents at risk. It is vital that Congress and the President work to reopen the government as soon as possible to minimize the effects of the impasse.”

    The House and Senate were originally scheduled to be in a state work period the week of Jan. 21 but will instead return to Washington, D.C.