by Krystal Knight
Yesterday, in a rare Sunday session, the Senate voted 57-35 to pass H.R. 3288, the FY 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Act. Technically, the bill is not and “omnibus” but a “minibus” because it includes most but not all of the outstanding FY2010 spending bills (Defense Appropriations was left on hold to serve as a vehicle for other year-end business). The Omnibus bill previously passed the House by a vote of 221-202.
The Omnibus bill totals $447 billion, with $164 billion set aside to fund the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. As you’ll recall, health centers’ FY2010 request was for the authorized level of funding for the Health Centers program: $2.602 billion. Unfortunately, as expected based on the President’s request and previous House and Senate Action, the Health Centers program was level funded at FY 2009 levels, resulting in FY 2010 appropriations totaling $2.2 billion, which does not include a base grant adjustment. This was primarily due to a historic investment in the Health Centers program made by the Recovery Act (ARRA).
NACHC is already holding meetings with Administration officials regarding the FY 2011 Budget and we have emphasized the importance of a significant boost in health center funding next year, regardless of the outcome of health reform.