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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.

Washington Highlights

Sequestration Set to Begin

March 1, 2013—The Senate Feb. 28 rejected competing alternative proposals to avert $85.3 billion in spending cuts set to begin March 1.

President Obama is required to sign an order enacting the spending cuts by 11:59 p.m. March 1.  Prior to that, the president met with Senate Majority Leader Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). But as expected, no progress was reported on the stalemate between Democrats and Republicans over whether further deficit reduction measures should include revenue measures.

In a March 1 press statement, AAMC President and CEO Darrell Kirch, M.D., said, “Sequestration will have a serious effect on medical schools and teaching hospitals and the patients they serve. If they remain in place, these devastating cuts to medical research funding and support for doctor training to be implemented under sequestration will not just have an impact this year, they will have consequences for many years to come.”

The Senate first defeated, 38-62, a Republican plan (S. 16) that would have directed President Obama to send Congress an alternative package of savings by March 15.  Nine Republicans voted against the bill with two Democrats voting “yes.”

Next, the Senate voted down, 51-49, a Democratic proposal to replace the across-the-board sequestration with specific revenue increases and spending cuts.  Four Democrats, including the bill's sponsor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), voted against the bill.  Reid's no vote was a procedural maneuver to permit him to move to limit debate during any subsequent consideration of the bill.

Both votes were procedural, requiring a 60-vote majority. Neither side expected to win as the votes were primarily to establish positions going into negotiations in March.  Attention now turns to the continuing resolution (CR) that is funding much of the federal government through March 27.  House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) is expected to bring an FY 2013 spending bill to the House floor the week of March 4 that would include a post-sequester spending cap of $974 billion and new legislation language to afford the Defense Department more flexibility in administering the spending cuts to its programs.  

Contact:

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

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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.


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For More Information

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org