Health Center Federal Policy, Uncategorized

Unraveling the Mysteries of the Federal Budget Process. .

As many of you have heard by now, President Obama’s detailed budget request for FY2010 was released last Thursday and it proposed $2.2 billion or level funding for the Health Centers Program.  A lot of folks have been understandably confused about what this means for our actual FY2010 Appropriations.  Hopefully this blog post and the next will help clear up some of these questions, and get us ready for the months ahead.


First, an overview on process. Usually, the President releases one detailed budget, which is required to be submitted to Congress by the first Monday in February. In a “transition” year from one Administration to another, that process gets set back a little. In these rare transition years the President, as was the case this year, sends up the broad outlines of a budget early in the year, then fills in the details later. In the meantime, Congress continues with its own process, passing the Congressional Budget Resolution, which indicates what Congress expects to spend overall on discretionary (annually appropriated) and non-discretionary (mandatory/entitlement) spending.  The Budget also outlines what revenues Congress expects to take in and how these revenues will be generated.


On April 29, 2009, Congress passed the FY2010 Congressional Budget Resolution Conference Report which provides $529.8 billion in non-defense discretionary spending, which is $29.8 billion or 6% above the level provided for 2009 according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. That is $10 billion below the amount in President Obama’s budget.


On May 7, 2009, the President sent up his detailed budget proposal to Congress which includes $78.3 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, slightly less than the amount provided for FY2009.


These events are only the opening act. The months-long appropriations process will determine what Health Centers actual funding level will be. Luckily, Health Centers’ advocacy efforts on that front are already well underway. Read “What the President’s Budget Means” to learn more.