Although the cameras are dark in the House and Senate chambers with Members out on a pre-election recess (many campaigning for their re-elections), plenty of work continues behind the scenes on finishing up the annual appropriations bills.
As we’ve previously reported, talk continues to swirl regarding what the final discretionary appropriations level will be and what will ultimately be the path forward for enacting FY2011 appropriations bills into law. Amongst some of scenarios are: 1. a year-long Continuing Resolution continuing all programs at the FY2010 level (not including in health centers’ case the FY2011 $1 billion allotment from the directly-appropriated Health Center Fund); 2. an Omnibus Appropriations bill that is a compromise of the House and Senate proposed spending levels; 3. an Omnibus Appropriations bill that is below either the House or Senate levels, namely at the proposed “McCaskill-Sessions” level which is $6 billion below the proposed Senate level for discretionary funding and $12 billion below the House level; or 4. Senate Republicans join with House Republicans and insist on the level of funding endorsed in the House “Pledge to America”: no more than the FY2008 level, which would be approximately $100 billion less than the current funding levels.
The final decisions about the path forward will likely be impacted by the mood and numbers in Congress during the post-election lame duck session and what kind of message the final election results provide to Members on both sides of the aisle. NACHC continues to advocate for no less than our FY2010 discretionary level of funding: $2.190 billion. Expect to see targeted grassroots activities on appropriations in the weeks to come and stay tuned to Health Centers on the Hill for all the latest.