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Senate Sends Budget Agreement to President

December 20, 2013—The Senate Dec. 18 passed a two-year bipartisan budget agreement that partially reduces the impact of sequestration.  The final vote was 64-36, with nine Republicans joining all 53 Democrats and two independents in supporting the measure.

The legislation (H.J.Res. 59) would eliminate about $63 billion of sequestration cuts over fiscal years (FYs) 2014 and 2015.  The agreement sets the discretionary (appropriated) spending limit for FY 2014 at $1.012 trillion, which is about $26 billion above the spending rate in the current continuing resolution (P.L. 113-39), which expires Jan. 15. The agreement sets the FY 2015 discretionary spending limit at $1.014 trillion.

House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and their respective subcommittee chairs are expected to work through the holiday to draft an omnibus package that includes the 12 FY 2014 spending bills.

In a statement issued after the Senate vote, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., said, “The bipartisan efforts that led to this legislation and these proposals are an important step toward getting the nation’s fiscal priorities in order. For now, we urge lawmakers to restore much-needed funding to medical research and other health-related programs through the appropriations process, and then focus on developing a long-term, balanced approach to deficit reduction that takes into account the critical health care needs of all Americans.”

The AAMC also sent a Dec. 17 letter  to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees urging them to provide the largest possible subcommittee or 302(b) allocation to the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee to allow for “restoration of sequestration’s harmful cuts to  national priorities such as medical research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and physician training through the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program and the Title VII health professions programs.”

The legislation also includes a three-month extension of the “doc fix” to prevent a 20.1 percent cut in Medicare physician payments scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2014.

The legislation now goes to President Obama, who has said he will sign it. In a statement released after the Senate vote, the president said, “I thank Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate who have worked hard to get this budget done and look forward to the Congress sending me bills that fund our government and refrain from fighting old ideological battles.”


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