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Congress Makes Slow Progress on FFY 2014 Spending Bills; Partisan Wrangling Over Health Spending

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The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.  Consistent with the Senate Democrats’ FFY 2014 budget blueprint, the $164.3 billion spending bill would fund programs at pre-sequestration levels.  It would increase spending for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by 1% and would eliminate the $1.5 billion in cuts to NIH that were imposed by sequestration in 2013.

During the Committee’s bill mark-up, Republicans offered failed amendments aimed at defunding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including a delay of the employer and individual mandates and rescinding funding for the Independent Payment Advisory Board and insurance exchanges.  Despite these attempts, the bill reported out of Committee includes the $5.2 billion needed to implement the law.  The House Appropriations Committee has not yet marked up its version of the bill, but House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) is seeking $43 billion less in funding for Labor-HHS programs than the Senate proposal. 

The Senate and House Appropriations Committee has completed six of the 12 spending bills needed to fund the government after the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on October 1.  Given stark differences in spending priorities between Republicans and Democrats, it is likely that Congress will end up passing another short-term CR to keep the government running through the end of the year.

HANYS is advocating for predictable and increased spending for NIH over current levels, full funding for implementation of ACA coverage expansion provisions, and a rejection of any new Medicare or Medicaid cuts throughout the budget process. Contact: Susan Van Meter

Published July 12, 2013