House Approves Six-Month Continuing Resolution to Avoid Government Shutdown
On Sept. 13, the House approved H.J. Res. 117, a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government for six months. The resolution funds the government using the $1.047 trillion level that was agreed to as part of the Budget Control Act approved by Congress last year that raised the debt ceiling and set discretionary spending levels. This level is $19 billion higher than the budget that the House passed earlier this year authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI. However, both sides agreed to move forward with a six-month CR to avoid a pre-election fight and possible government shutdown. The Senate is expected to approve the measure next week and the president is expected to sign the measure.
Congress will finish its work on the CR and will recess for the November elections on Oct. 5. When Congress returns for the post-election lame duck session, they will need to address an array of unfinished business, most notably the 27 percent scheduled cut in Medicare physician payments, expiring tax cuts and the scheduled $1.2 trillion in cuts to both discretionary and defense spending. Without intervention, discretionary spending programs will receive a 2 percent across-the-board cut, and defense spending will also be subject to cuts. These decisions will be made in the lame duck session and will be determined by which party controls the House, Senate and the White House.
The AGA will monitor this process and continues to press for a payment fix for physicians and stable funding for digestive disease research. Continue to look for more updates on the budget process in the AGA Washington Insider and AGA eDigest.