Health Center Federal Policy

House Passes Six Month Continuing Resolution; Federal Programs Funded at Roughly FY 2012 Level

Last week, the House passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund federal programs until March 27, 2013 to avert a government shutdown after the end of the current Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 on September 30. As we reported in our last blog, the CR adheres to the $1.047 trillion spending cap set forth in the 2011 Budget Control Act, which is an $8 billion increase over FY 2012. This spending increase will be allocated as a government-wide 0.6 percent across-the-board increase to all accounts. We do not believe the Office of Management and Budget will actually distribute that increase or allow agencies to spend those funds in light of the looming sequestration deadline of January 2, 2013.

The CR will ensure health centers continue to receive funding for the first six months of FY 2013. Under the CR, health centers discretionary funding would remain at $1.6 billion, the same level as  the current FY 2012 funding. However, mandatory funding from the Health Center Fund under the Affordable Care Act would increase to $1.5 billion at the beginning of FY 2013. This is a $300 million increase from FY 2012. However, we do not expect HRSA to allocate those increased funds on a short term extension.

As expected, the CR has been kept relatively “clean” of special provisions in order to assure passage, but the CR does require each department and agency to submit to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees a “spending, expenditure or operating plan” no later than 30 days after enactment of the measure. The Senate has until the end of the fiscal year, September 30, to pass the CR and is expected to take up the measure this week before both chambers recess until after the elections. The full CR bill text can be viewed here.