POLICY BRIEFINGS


Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


THIS WEEK'S BRIEFING - FEBRUARY 7, 2011


House to Ante Up on President's Budget Freeze


OMB announced that the President’s budget for FY 2012 will be released on Monday February 14, Valentine’s Day.  No Valentine’s Day for most federal agencies, the budget is expected to place a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending and a two-year freeze on federal salaries.  In advance of the budget, OMB has asked all agencies to comply with the President’s order to provide within 120 days a plan to review all major regulations for possible change or repeal.  In an opening move by the House, setting up a confrontation with Senate Democrats, House Budget Committee Paul Ryan issued his directive that FY 2011 discretionary spending be capped at $1.055 trillion, thus saving $32 billion by the end of this September (a 7% reduction from the President’s initial request for the year and 12% in non-security spending with the latter spending capped at $420 billion).  To achieve the yearly reduction, non-security discretionary programs would have to shrink by 15.4% from current CR levels.  An appropriations measure is expected to be pushed to the floor by next week and must be passed by March 4th when the CR for the current fiscal year expires.  Although DoD will be given an increase of $9.6 billion, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers directed his subcommittees to trim about 14% from the President’s FY 2011 request for Agriculture or 24.2% for the remainder of the year (including the FDA) and 4% for Labor-HHS-Education or 12.7% for the remainder of the year (to $20.06 billion down from $23.3 billion last year).  The proposed cuts will serve up a contentious debate in the House, not only from objecting Democrats, but from the Republican Study Committee and a few other House members who are calling for much deeper spending cuts than under the Ryan directive.  The remaining FY 2011 House spending proposal will preclude member earmarks and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye acceded to the President’s threat to veto bills containing such earmarks by declaring the next two years as earmark-free.  Although House Speaker John Boehner has declared that Republicans will not block an increase in the debt limit, other House leaders have said that a debt limit increase is conditioned on the proposed spending cuts for this year and next.

the next two years as earmark-free.  Although House Speaker John Boehner has declared that Republicans will not block an increase in the debt limit, other House leaders have said that a debt limit increase is conditioned on the proposed spending cuts for this year and next.


Senate Committee Ratios Set


Last week the Senate approved organizing resolutions that divides each committee’s funding 53-47%, for the Democrat majority and Republican minority, respectively.



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