Federal Budget Update

What’s new?

  • On September 26, 2018 Representatives passed the Senate’s $854 billion spending bill on a vote of 361-61 that includes funding for the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and Education, and includes a stop-gap funding measure for the remainder of the federal government until December 7th.
  • On September 18, 2018 Senators approved the package on a vote of 93-7.
  • On September 12, 2018 Senators approved a $147 billion spending package on a vote of 92-5 to fund the Energy Department, veterans’ programs and the legislative branch.
  • These bills, if signed by President Donald Trump, account for 90 percent of the federal government’s annual spending and avoid a government shut-down on October 1st.

What’s the issue?

  • The federal government’s fiscal year begins on October 1st of every year.
  • Congress is responsible for passing legislation to fund the government.  Each fiscal year, Congress decides how to appropriate taxpayer dollars.
  • If Congress fails to pass a budget before a fiscal year begins, they can pass legislation to keep federal operations going at the current spending levels.  This is called a “continuing resolution” also known as a CR.
  • A CR is a temporary funding measure until Congress can pass a budget agreement.
  • If a CR is not passed, the government must shut down.  2013 was the last time the government shut down.

Why does it matter?

  • A government shutdown will impact all departments and agencies of the federal government impacting vulnerable populations and core functions of the government.
  • Under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), several services to make sure our communities are healthy will be impacted by a prolonged government shut down.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have to suspend its flu-tracking program at the height of a particularly bad flu season.
  • Medicare beneficiaries will be largely unaffected by a shutdown however if it continues for a sustained period Medicare providers may see a delay in their reimbursement payments.
  • Nutrition services for seniors will not be funded during any shutdown.  Meals on Wheels America receives about 35% of its funding through the Older Americans Act, but raises the rest of its budget to try to mitigate any disruption in service.
  • The Food and Drug Administration will cease food safety programs but inspections conducted by the Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service will continue.

What is the AMITA Health perspective?

  • AMITA Health fundamentally in access to believes health care. AMITA Health believes that everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, deserves access to health care to live a full and productive life. Shutting down the government jeopardizes healthcare for poor and vulnerable communities that need it most.
  • The Federal government must be a good steward of taxpayer dollars to serve vulnerable populations. Passing a budget on time is not only the morally correct thing to do for the vulnerable members of our communities, it is also the most fiscally correct thing to do for the future of this country.  A budget package that protects Medicare and Medicaid funding is critical to the health of our communities.

Featured News

Featured news includes articles from multiple viewpoints and is designed to keep you abreast of the current debate around this issue. This information should not be construed as our point of view.

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Senate approves $854B spending bill

The Senate is racing to avoid the third government shutdown of the year ahead of a looming end-of-the-month deadline.  Senators on Tuesday voted 93-7 to ...

The Hill + September 18, 2018 + View Article

Trump signs $1.3 trillion spending bill despite veto threat on Twitter

Just hours after threatening a veto, President Trump said Friday afternoon that he had signed a “ridiculous” $1.3 trillion spending bill passed by Congress early Friday ...

Washington Post + March 23, 2018 + View Article