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Washington Highlights

House Passes Six-Month Funding Bill

March 8, 2013—The House of Representatives March 6 passed an FY 2013 spending package that extends funding for most federal programs through Sept. 30.  The bill (H.R. 933) also includes full, detailed Defense and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bills with adjusted funding levels to protect certain programs from sequestration.

The House approved the bill by a 267-151 vote, with 53 Democrats voting for it and 14 Republicans voting “no.” Democrats objected to the bill because it does not afford non-defense agencies and programs the same flexibility to soften the impact of sequestration.  Democrats also criticized the measure for not including sufficient funds to implement the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and 111-152).

The Senate is expected to take up the bill the week of March 12.  Senate Democrats reportedly are looking at adding several additional appropriations bills to the package.  However, the more contentious bills, including the Labor-HHS-Education measure, are unlikely to be added as separate bills and will be funded as year-long CR.

The bill includes a total discretionary spending cap of $1.043 trillion for FY 2013, equal to both the FY 2012 spending cap and the FY 2013 spending cap mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25) and modified by January’s fiscal cliff agreement. The bill also includes cuts to implement the March 1 sequestration order, including a 5 percent cut for most non-defense discretionary programs.  As a result, the effective spending cap is $984 billion.

The bill's initial $1.043 trillion discretionary spending cap requires a 0.098 percent across-the-board cut from non-security programs and a 0.109 percent cut from most of the bill’s security funding (including defense, homeland security, and foreign affairs) to reduce spending in those categories to the caps as modified by the fiscal cliff agreement. Meeting these caps eliminates the need for a separate sequestration to enforce the caps that would have been required by law in late March.

H.R. 933 extends continuing appropriations for the 10 remaining FY 2013 spending bills, including the Labor-HHS-Education bill, generally at their FY 2012 enacted levels, minus the cuts outlined above.  Additional specific cuts in the bill include a $10 million rescission of FY 2013 funding for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), created by the ACA to find ways to reduce the growth rate of Medicare spending.  The bill also rescinds $6.3 billion in funding provided for performance bonus payments for states to help offset costs resulting from increased enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) due to state enrollment and retention efforts

The bill makes a number of advanced appropriations for the first quarter of FY 2014 to ensure that certain programs and activities will be funded when the new fiscal year begins, including $106 billion for Medicaid state grants to facilitate the operation of the Medicaid and CHIP programs.

The measure requires federal departments and agencies covered by the CR extension to prepare operating plans detailing how they will use their available resources, as reduced by sequestration, for the remainder of the fiscal year. Those plans must be submitted to Congress within 30 days of enactment. OMB would be required to submit monthly reports to Congress through Nov. 1 on all funding obligations made by each department and agency, and how they compare to the same period last year.


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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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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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806