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 - SEPTEMBER 26, 2011


Senate Rejects House CR Threatening a Government Shutdown


On Friday the Senate voted 59-36 to table H.R. 2608, the continuing resolution (CR) passed earlier in the House (219-203), thus delaying a possible resolution into this week.  The House CR which extends federal agency funding until November 18 would also provide $3.65 billion for FEMA (which could run out of funds early this week) together with a controversial payfor that would reduce funding for the Department of Energy program that gave the SOLYNDRA solar panel company a federal loan shortly before its bankruptcy.  The Senate is insisting on providing FEMA with $6.9 billion without any offset.  A Senate cloture vote on the CR is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. this Monday.  Both houses had previously scheduled a recess for this week, but with federal agency funding running out this coming Friday, a quick resolution of FEMA funding will be needed in order to avoid a federal shutdown.  The high stakes of this showdown was illustrated when House Republican fiscal hawks shot down, 195-230, a CR offered earlier in the week which had a different offset for the FEMA disaster fund.  Fiscal conservatives continue to think the level of funding under the CR is too high, even though it provides a 1.5% cut from FY 2011 levels in line with the Budget Control Act cap of $1.043 trillion in discretionary spending.  Offsets to other spending measures are likely to become the order of the day.  In this connection, the Trade Adjustment legislation, H.R. 2832, includes a $400 million health coverage provision for displaced workers offered by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus that would be offset by adjustments to contracts for Medicare Quality Improvement Organizations.  The dispute over the CR only adds to the upcoming contentious debate over the President’s American Jobs Act which Senator Reid said would be taken up in the Senate with Democrats and Republicans offering a number of amendments.



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