By: Heather Jinkins
After weeks of intense deficit reduction deal negotiations between the Administration and Congressional leadership, the current fiscal climate remains challenging. For more on the larger deficit negotiations, read this blog.
While it is still very possible that the House could delay consideration of its Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Appropriations bill, officially, the Subcommittee still plans to move forward with consideration of the measure as previously announced. The Subcommittee will convene on Tuesday, July 26 with Full Committee consideration expected on Tuesday, August 2. As of this writing, the House has cleared five FY2012 Appropriations bills – Defense; Homeland Security; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; and Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies. Additionally, the Appropriations Committee has advanced four bills –Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Legislative Branch. The Labor-HHS-Education bill is among the three final bills the Appropriations Committee has yet to consider.
The House Labor-HHS-Education’s allocation for programs within its purview is at
least $18 billion, or nearly 12 percent, below the FY2011-enacted level. In light of this decrease and the budgetary climate, the Committee is tasked with making substantial funding cuts leaving our program- along with all programs under Labor-HHS jurisdiction- highly susceptible to extensive reductions in spending. As you’ll recall, NACHC is requesting $1.79 billion in discretionary funding. Together with the $1.2 billion in mandatory funding available in FY 2012, this translates to a total programmatic funding level of $2.99 billion. This funding level will allow Health Centers to continue to provide primary and preventative care to existing patients as well as to bring such services to 3 million new patients who are among the 60 million who don’t currently receive even basic care. It will also allow for the opening of Health Centers in over 200 new communities. In the coming days, we will be asking our grassroots advocates to weigh in on the importance of ensuring there is sufficient funding to maintain existing operations and activities at Health Centers and to improve access to care by reaching out to their Members on the Appropriations Committee.
Please continue to follow us on Health Centers on the Hill for the latest on the appropriations process!