Health Center Federal Policy

House Labor – Health and Human Services (HHS) – Education Subcommittee Postpones Appropriations Action; Appropriators to Move Forward with Continuing Resolution

As we last blogged about the FY2012 Appropriations process, the House Labor – Health and Human Services (HHS) – Education Subcommittee was scheduled to markup the measure that funds the Health Centers program Friday, Sept. 9. However, it was announced Thursday, Sept. 8 that consideration had been postponed. We are unsure if, or when, the House will resume moving remaining standalone Appropriations bills. With only three weeks left in the fiscal year, we are hearing that Appropriators are drafting a Continuing Resolution (CR) which would fund the government from the start of the fiscal year and prevent interruption of government services. It is expected that the CR would last through Nov. 18 and would set spending levels at those agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011. Leaders from both chambers are hoping to pass the bill by Sept. 19, in time for the scheduled recess from Sept. 23 to Oct. 3.

While House Appropriators are not expected to markup any additional standalone spending measures, Senate Appropriators are likely to markup four measures this week. We are expecting to see the Full Committee meet Sept. 15 to consider the Commerce-Justice-Science, Defense, Legislative Branch, and Financial Services bills. On Sept. 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee released the 302b allocations for FY2012. The Senate allocation provides $157.1 billion for the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee, which is about $300 million less than FY 2011. In the House, because of the Budget Control Act, the revised allocation will likely be about $14 billion higher than the original, $139.2 billion 302(b) allocation passed earlier this year. All things considered, this is relatively good news compared to what we have been anticipating.  However, funding for the Health Centers program remains to be determined, and we need all grassroots advocates with Members on the Senate and House Appropriations to keep up the good work in reminding them about the importance of funding for health centers.

Please check back with us for all the latest on the Appropriations process!