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Second Opinion

Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

President Signs Funding Extension

October 2, 2015—With time running out before the start of the federal fiscal year (FY), Congress approved a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to continue funding for federal agencies, narrowly averting a government shutdown.

The CR (H.R. 719) provides funding through Dec. 11.  Most federal programs will be funded at a rate that is 0.21 percent less than FY 2015 levels to keep the overall bill below the FY 2016 spending caps. The CR also continues funding for Planned Parenthood.

The president signed the CR Sept. 30 just a few hours before current budget authority (P.L. 113-235) expired. Earlier in the day, the House passed the CR, 277-151, after the Senate approved it, 78-20. In the House, only 91 Republicans joined 186 Democrats in supporting the CR, while in the Senate, all 20 ”nays” were from Republicans.

In a Sept. 28 Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) supporting the CR, the Obama administration said it “looks forward to working with the Congress on FY 2016 appropriations legislation for the full year that reverses sequestration, preserves funding for critical national priorities, protects national security, and makes investments to maintain economic growth and job creation for years to come.”

House Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the CR “ensures Americans continue to have access to government programs and services, it prevents unnecessary economic harm caused by a government shutdown, it maintains the budget cap level, and it is free of controversial riders.” He added, “While this isn’t the best way to budget, it will get us past the current deadline and move us forward in addressing the larger fiscal challenges facing our nation.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and President Obama reportedly had at least two telephone conversations to begin discussions on a larger budget deal.  McConnell has indicated that he will try to secure a two-year deal.

While the CR avoids a government shutdown for now, it pushes the budget debate later in the year when the need to raise the debt limit and desires to extend expiring tax provisions will provide complications. Conservatives also are expected to make another major push to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, predicted, “This December is probably going to be the worst ever; I think some really bad things could happen.”

Contact:

Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559
Email: dbmoore@aamc.org

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