Stage Set for FY2012 Appropriations

By: Anne Morris

When we last blogged about FY2012 appropriations, the House Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Subcommittee had postponed its consideration of the FY2012 Appropriations bill that funds the Health Centers program among other activities.  To date, the House Appropriations Committee has advanced 9 of its 12 bills (all but Labor-HHS-Education, Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, and State-Foreign Operations).  As we’d reported, the House began consideration of the Interior appropriations legislation but had yet to finish when Congress turned its attention to completion of the debt deal and adjourned for the August recess.  Since we last wrote, there have been no further developments with the Senate appropriations process.

Alex Sange’s blog on the debt deal discussed the discretionary limits set in the Budget Control Act.  In FY2012, the discretionary spending limit is $1.043 trillion – roughly $7 billion less than the FY2011-enacted level but $24 billion more than the House-approved Ryan Budget. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will now be working from the same topline discretionary funding level, and we’ve heard there is an effort underway to coordinate the allocations that each Subcommittee in the House and Senate will have.  Congressional staff estimate that Labor-HHS-Education programs would be facing at least a $2 billion reduction relative to FY2011 funding levels.

Since there’s now a topline discretionary funding level that’s been agreed upon by both chambers, we expect to see Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bills move through the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in September.   With the relatively short window once Congress returns to Washington to complete action on all 12 appropriations bills before the beginning of FY2012, it is entirely possible that there will be at least one Continuing Resolution to keep the government running.

Of course we’ll continue to track appropriations activity in both chambers and any Super Committee proposal that puts forward further reductions in discretionary spending that would take effect in FY2012.  There will be plenty of discussion at the CHI about what Health Center advocates can and should be doing on this front – especially for those of you with Members on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.  Stay tuned!

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