$1T Omnibus Spending Bill Advances Through Congress
On Wednesday, The House voted 359-67 to pass a $1.01 trillion omnibus spending bill that would keep the government funded through September, The Hill's "Floor Action" reports (Kasperowicz, "Floor Action," The Hill, 1/15).
The spending bill, which was unveiled Monday, follows up on a budget deal negotiated by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last year.
Health Care Implications
Overall, the spending package would provide $1.012 trillion for discretionary spending for fiscal year 2014, including $491.7 billion for domestic programs.
Specifically, the spending bill would reduce Labor-HHS-Education funding by about $100 million from the FY 2013 enacted level, with labor and education programs taking most of the reductions to offset increases in health care spending. For example, CDC would be funded at $6.9 billion, a $567 million increase from FY 2013, and FDA would receive nearly $2.6 billion, up $91 million from FY 2013, according to House appropriators (California Healthline, 1/14).
NIH would receive $29.9 billion in FY 2014, up by $1 billion over FY 2013 (AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/16).
The spending package also would provide $115 million for mental health programs through the "Now is the Time" violence-prevention initiative. The spending package also contains a provision that would allow HHS to transfer up to $305 million out of trust funds to program management for Medicare.
In addition, the spending package maintains several abortion riders from previous spending bills, including the so-called Hyde amendment that prohibits Medicaid plans from offering abortion coverage and a ban on using federal funding to pay for most abortion procedures, including those in the District of Columbia and federal prisons (California Healthline, 1/14). However, the measure contains no new restrictions on federal funding for abortions (AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/16).
The bill would keep spending levels for CMS -- the agency largely tasked with implementing the Affordable Care Act -- at $3.7 billion, which is its funding level under sequestration. However, it would cut the ACA's Prevention and Public Health Fund by $1 billion and the Independent Payment Advisory Board's funding by $10 million (California Healthline, 1/14).
About the Vote
The spending bill gained broad support from both Republicans and Democrats and was passed with just 64 Republicans and three Democrats opposing it, the Washington Post reports (O'Keefe, Washington Post, 1/15).
Most of the Republicans who opposed the bill have strong conservative ties and were against restoring some of the sequester cuts, which increased the bill's spending by about $45 billion (Weisman, New York Times, 1/15).
Despite some opposition, Democrats and Republicans overall cheered the spending bill's passage, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
Democrats touted the bill's additional spending for medical research (Fram, AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/16). Meanwhile, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) noted that the bill maintains several GOP priorities, such as "pro-life policies ... no new funding for Obamacare," as well as $1 billion in cuts to existing Obamacare funds ("Floor Action," The Hill, 1/15).
However, conservative groups -- including Club for Growth and Heritage Action -- denounced the vote. Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, also opposed the vote, saying, "Has Congress learned nothing from the Obamacare disaster? We need members in the House and the Senate who are willing to keep their campaign promises, stand up for the people and protect Americans from Washington’s tax, borrow, spend and spend and spend mentality" (New York Times, 1/16).
Senate To Vote on Spending Bill
The proposal now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass by the end of the week, The Hill's "On The Money" reports (Needham, The Hill, "On The Money," 1/15).
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday scheduled a procedural vote on the bill, putting the Senate in position to approve the bill and send it to President Obama by Saturday at the latest ("Floor Action," The Hill, 1/15).
The federal government's funding was set to expire on Wednesday, but the Senate approved a three-day extension, pushing the deadline for a government shutdown to Saturday (Washington Post, 1/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.