House and Senate Pass a Continuing Resolution
After a rare Saturday session, the Senate passed a House-approved, $1.1 trillion that will keep the government funded for nine more months, averting another shutdown until the end of FY2015. The bill was essentially a continuation of the $1.1 trillion budget deal that was brokered back in January between House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA).
While the spending bill was approved in both the House and the Senate, there was opposition by both the liberal and conservative factions in both chambers, though ultimately not enough to hamper final passage of the bill.
According to Modern Healthcare’s analysis of the spending bill:
“The budget package includes $5.4 billion to fight the Ebola crisis and prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks. It also contains a controversial provision aimed at blocking funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's risk corridor program, which is designed to protect insurers participating in the exchanges from financial risk. Funding for most key healthcare agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is largely flat…
The spending bill…was the main item left on Congress' year-end agenda, and exposed fissures within both political parties in both houses.
It faced opposition from Democratic liberals upset about the repeal of a banking regulation and Republican conservatives unhappy that it failed to challenge Obama's immigration moves.
While the legislation assures funding for nearly the entire government until next fall, it made an exception of the Department of Homeland Security. Money for the agency will run out on February 27, when Republicans intend to try and force the president to roll back an immigration policy that removes the threat of deportation from millions of immigrants living in the United States illegally.”
The legislation locks in spending levels negotiated in recent years between Republicans and Democrats, and includes a number of provisions that reflect the priorities of one party or the other, from the environment to abortion to the legalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia.