House Passes FY 2011 CR Extension

Throughout last week, the House debated numerous amendments to H.R. 1, a continuing resolution crafted by the Republican led House Appropriations Committee to provide appropriations for the remainder of FY 2011.  As introduced the bill would cut another $60.9 billion from the current year’s spending levels (and nearly $100 billion from President Obama’s original FY 2011 budget as shown in last week’s newsletter).  Before adjourning until February 28 for the President’s Day recess, the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, said the House bill was unacceptable and President Obama said he would veto it in any event.  Lacking an agreement on the House CR terms, both the House and Senate will have to reach agreement on a temporary extension of the current CR which expires on March 4th.  However, House Majority Leader John Boehner said he would not agree to a short-term CR unless it cuts spending over the interim period (the House CR would result in about a 12% cut).  If the Senate majority does not agree to House demands, the government could face another shutdown which last occurred during the speakership of Newt Gingrich.  Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin hinted that an impasse may result in the sort of budget summit described above in order to obtain House, Senate and Administration agreement on FY 2011 and FY 2012 spending levels, as well as on an extension of the federal debt limit. 

The House bill takes a slap at the implementation of the PPACA as follows:

  • cutting funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the National Health Service Corps and community health centers;
  • prohibiting funding for the PPACA for FY 2011 under the successful amendment offered by Rep. Dennis Rehberg.  The Rehberg amendment specifies that “none of the funds made available by this Act under the Title appropriating funds for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education may be paid to any employee, officer, contractor, or grantee of any department or agency to implement any provisions of the [PPACA]”.
  • one amendment offered by Rep. Steve King would bar the use of federal funds to carry out the PPACA;
  • another King amendment would prohibit the use of funds to pay the salary of any federal officer or employee to implement the law; 
  • an amendment offered by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson would prohibit the use of funds by the IRS to implement or enforce the individual mandate provision of the PPACA;
  • an amendment by Rep. Tom Price eliminates funding for the implementation of the medical loss ratio restrictions;
  • an amendment by Rep. Cory Gardner eliminates funding to regulate or promote state health care exchanges; 
  • an amendment by Rep. Michael Burgess prohibits paying salaries of any officer or employee at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight within HHS; 
  • an amendment by Rep. Joe Pitts prohibits funding for federal agencies to designate healthcare essential benefits.

All of these adopted amendments will heighten Democrat opposition in the Senate to the House-passed CR.  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would work to stop the House-passed CR.

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