Congress Passes Short-Term Funding Bill to Avert Government Shutdown
December 15, 2015 07:44 AM
On Friday, December 11, with funding for the federal government set to expire, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed a short-term continuing resolution, which is an extension of current funding through Wednesday, December 16, to provide Congress with additional time to reach an agreement on a year-long omnibus funding package. Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives approved the short-term continuing resolution by voice votes, with the Senate passing it on Thursday and the House on Friday.
According to an interview with Roll Call, House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY-05) reportedly said that the negotiations on the omnibus are “glacier-like” and moving at a “snail’s pace.” The two sides continue efforts to reach agreement on specific funding levels and policy riders. As a result, reports indicate that passage of the omnibus legislation is unlikely before Tuesday.
An omnibus is preferred over a continuing resolution because it allows for adjustments to the various spending levels, rather than simply extending current levels of funding. As negotiations on the omnibus continue, the step by Congress to pass a continuing resolution is a positive one to avoid a government shutdown for five days and all of the ramifications that would follow.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has previously determined that, in the event of a government shutdown, the home health and hospice community would likely be minimally affected since Medicare and Medicaid are entitlement programs that are deemed “mandatory spending” and therefore not part of the government’s discretionary spending negotiations. However, there is uncertainty as a government shutdown could result in significant staffing furloughs at the Department of Health and Human Services, which could have an effect on programs that are not mandatory or not deemed essential.
NAHC Reportwill continue to provide updates regarding the status of the negotiations over the omnibus legislation and the ongoing efforts by Congress to avoid a government shutdown just days before the scheduled recess for the holidays.