Health Center Federal Policy

Friday’s Expiration of Continuing Resolution Will Spur Action on Appropriations

by Anne Morris, MPH

Today, Members of Congress reconvene for continuation of the lame-duck session.  Congress will need to act on appropriations bills no later than December 3rd, the date when the current Continuing Resolution expires.  As we’ve previously reported, there are several possible scenarios regarding the path forward for enacting FY2011 appropriations bills into law, and the final discretionary appropriations level has yet to be decided.

While the final outlook for appropriations evolves by the hour, NACHC staff hear it is likely that the Senate and House will pass another short-term Continuing Resolution that will expire in two weeks.  This extension would allow Congress to continue negotiations and either reach agreement on a final FY2011 Omnibus appropriations bill or pursue a longer-term Continuing Resolution that would fund all programs into next year.  Senate Minority Leader McConnell has publicly stated that he will not support an Omnibus appropriations bill, which means Senate Democratic Leadership would need to secure the support of several Republican Senators – over the Minority Leader’s objections – to overcome procedural hurdles and achieve passage of an Omnibus package.

NACHC and the Health Center grassroots continue to advocate for support of the Health Centers program at no less than the FY2010 funding level of $2.190 billion. Health centers should continue to raise this topic with any Members they meet with during the lame-duck session and convey the importance of this level of funding, which is necessary to realize the goal of doubling health center patients from 20 to 40 million by 2015.

Stay tuned to Health Centers on the Hill for all the latest!