March 12, 2018 / by Charles S. Konigsberg

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Next Friday Deadline to Avoid Shutdown, Complete $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill

  • March 23 Deadline to Avoid Shutdown:  The February 9, 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act continued federal funding through next Friday and set overall levels for defense and non-defense discretionary spending for FY 2018, however, it did not appropriate funds.  That remains to be done in an FY 2018 omnibus appropriations act that will package together the 12 regular appropriations bills, adjusted upward for the higher spending limits.  Last month’s spending caps deal freed up an additional $80 billion for defense and $63 billion for non-defense spending for FY’18.
  • Abortion  – domestic policy:  According to Congressional Quarterly, House Labor-HHS Appropriations Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) says the House GOP cannot accept a Senate provision that would prevent the Trump Administration from denying healthcare funding to Planned Parenthood.
    • Federal law already prohibits federal funding of abortion; this dispute is about family planning and women’s health services.
    • Senate includes funds for family planning programs.  Senate language 
    • House provides no money for family planning and prohibits funding for Planned Parenthood.  House language
  • Abortion – international policy:  House wants to codify include the Trump Administration’s blanket prohibition on U.S. aid from going to any organization that provides information about abortions; Senate wants to repeal the policy known as “Mexico City.”
  • Health Insurance Stabilization: Talks are reportedly continuing on funding to stabilize health insurance markets including cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments and a reinsurance program promised to Sen. Susan Collins in exchange for her vote on last year’s tax bill.
  • No Agreement on Total Funding Level for Labor-HHS-Education:  Disagreements have arisen over the use of CHIMPs to increase Labor-HHS-Education spending.  CHIMPs are Changes in Mandatory Spending Programs, usually entitlements, that score as budget savings, and allow the Appropriations Committee to commit additional discretionary funds while remaining within the statutory spending caps.  According to Congressional Quarterly Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo), Chairman of the Labor-HHS Subcommittee, says the GOP has agreed to the use of $14 billion of CHIMPs, while some Democrats are reportedly pushing for $19 billion.  FedWeb explanation of CHIMPs
  • Opioid Funding Challenged as Inadequate: The February bipartisan budget agreement calls for $6 billion in additional funding over two years to combat the opioid epidemic but some governors are calling this inadequate.
  • Immigration/DACA: It remains to be seen whether the impasse over DACA, border funding, and immigration reform will hinder completion of the bill, although the February 26 Supreme Court decision leaving District Court injunctions in place — and allowing existing DACA recipients to renew their status — has reduced immediate pressure for immigration action in the omnibus bill.  On the other hand, White House pressure for border wall funding may keep the DACA/border-security/immigration issues on the table.
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