Health Center Federal Policy

House Passes Short-Term CR Defunding the ACA

On Friday, the House passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) funding the government until December 15th. The CR will fund the government at a total level of $986 billion, and does not allow for any funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

If the House version of the CR were passed into law, community health centers would face a drastic reduction in funding resulting in the loss of jobs and closure of CHCs in communities across the country.  President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have both emphatically stated any CR containing ACA defunding, delay, or rescinding provisions are “dead on arrival.” We anticipate the next step in the Senate would be for Senator Reid to bring up the House CR for a procedural vote for the Senate to consider the House CR, known as a cloture vote. This vote would require 60 votes to pass the Senate. Senator Reid will then proceed with a simple majority vote to remove the provision in the legislation defunding the ACA.

There are some members of the Republican Conference in the Senate who would like to increase the vote threshold to 60 votes on the defunding provision. There is a chance we could witness a Senate procedural battle before the Senate finally votes on their version of the CR, which we expect will be a “clean” CR without the ACA defunding provision. If there is a clean CR, the bill will have to be sent back to the House again for consideration or changes before being sent back to the Senate or to the President to be signed into law.

We anticipate the Senate will wait as long as possible this week before sending the CR back to the House in order to attempt to force the House to accept a CR without the ACA defunding provision. The CR must be signed into law by October 1st and it is increasingly likely the House will be in session over the weekend to reconsider the CR in order to avert a government shutdown.

We will continue to post any updates on the CR situation as they become available.