Government shutdown averted at the last minute; details of $39 billion cut agreement still to be worked out this week

President Obama and House and Senate leadership reached agreement on a plan for funding the remainder of FY 2011. The agreement was reached shortly before midnight April 8th when the temporary funding bill for the federal government would have ended.   While the details are still being worked out, it is reported to include $37.7 billion in overall cuts, with $1.1 billion coming from an across-the-board cut spread evenly across all discretionary programs except defense spending. Labor and Health and Human Services programs would be cut by $13 billion.

While the majority of the policy riders that were the focus of ongoing disagreement (such as the prohibition on funding for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were not included in the compromise, the Senate did agree to have a vote on these issues.   The compromise contains a number of studies examining the impact of the ACA and a ban on funding to hire additional IRS agents to help with ACA enforcement.  There is also a ban on the funds for the Free Choice Vouchers provision. This provision of the ACA allows certain workers to take money their employers would have contributed to their health plan costs and use it to buy plans in the exchange.

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