Health Center Federal Policy

House Labor – Health and Human Services (HHS) – Education Subcommittee Postpones Appropriations Action

The House Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Subcommittee announced it is postponing consideration of its FY2012 Appropriations bill, originally scheduled for Subcommittee markup on July 26. The earliest the measure will likely be considered is when the House reconvenes after the August recess. We’ve heard various reports that both Appropriations Full Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Norm Dicks (D-WA) believe the current debt ceiling/deficit reduction negotiations may provide appropriators with more generous allocations for the remaining three appropriations bills that have yet to move through the Appropriations Committee, including the Labor-HHS-Education legislation. However, this presumes a final debt ceiling/deficit reduction framework would not include substantial cuts to discretionary spending in FY2012.

As of this writing, the House has cleared six FY2012 Appropriations bills – Defense; Homeland Security; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies; and Legislative Branch. Additionally, the Appropriations Committee has advanced three bills –Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; and Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. The Interior Appropriations bill is scheduled for floor consideration this week.

Last week, the Senate passed its first FY2012 Appropriations bill – Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. Senate Appropriators have not scheduled any other FY2012 Appropriations bills for consideration prior to the August recess. Senate Leadership on both sides of the aisle remains hopeful that a larger deficit ceiling/deficit negotiation resolution will bring with it an agreement on the top-line discretionary spending level for FY2012. Many Senators are reluctant to advance Appropriations bills until such an agreement is reached.

We here at NACHC ask that our grassroots advocates continue to discuss the importance of funding for the Health Centers Program with Members on the Appropriations Committee while they are in their districts during the August recess. We ask that you reiterate the importance of ensuring there is sufficient funding to maintain existing operations and activities at Health Centers and to continue to improve access to primary and preventative care. As always, additional resources on appropriations are available on the NACHC Federal Affairs Appropriations website.