House Appropriations Committee Work Begins

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to release its 302(b) allocation this week.  This allocation tells each of the Subcommittees how much it can spend in FY 2012, and the figure is derived from the budget resolution passed by the House last month.  It is expected to be a very difficult funding year since the overall discretionary spending was capped at the same amount provided in FY 2006.

Bill Passed Through the End of the Fiscal Year on Sept 30

Congress wrapped up funding for FY 2011 by passing a Continuing Resolution to fund the government through September 2011. The CR includes $38 billion in cuts to federal programs including a 0.2% across the board cut in all non-defense spending. The House of Representatives passed the FY11 CR by a vote of 260-167. As part of the agreement on the CR, both the House and Senate voted on a proposal to withhold funds for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which passed 240-185 in the House and was rejected 47-53 in the Senate. The House and Senate also voted on barring funding for Planned Parenthood, with the House passing it 240-185 and the Senate rejecting it 42-58.  The Senate then easily passed the CR on a vote of 81-19 and the President quickly signed it into law.

House Passes Budget Resolution that Would Cause Draconian Cuts in Medicaid and Other Safety Net Programs

On a nearly party-line vote, the House of Representatives passed a budget resolution (H Con Res 34) for Fiscal Year 2012 on Friday, April 15. The budget resolution would cut taxes by $4.2 trillion over 10 years and would cut Medicaid, Medicare, and other critical programs by $4.3 trillion over 10 years. Over the ten year period, only $155 billion would go toward reducing the federal deficit. However, to make such major program cuts, the Medicaid program would be cut by 20 percent and would be converted to a block grant which would grow annually at less than the health care cost of living. The budget resolution passed on a vote of 235 – 193. No Democrats supported it, while 4 Republicans opposed it. The budget resolution does not have the force of law (the President does not sign it), but it sets the guidelines for other legislative action for the Fiscal Year.

On Wednesday, President Obama had called for a bipartisan negotiation process to reach agreement on the FY 2012 budget. He announced a framework for reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years which includes a balance between spending cuts and tax reform. The framework would not include a Medicaid block grant or privatizing of Medicare or Social Security.