As the current fiscal year comes to a close, lawmakers have less than three weeks to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through the November election.
Media reports indicate that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin broadly agreed to a “clean” spending bill to extend the current fiscal year 2020 funding levels for government operations. Under this scenario, the CR would include no other legislative priorities, such as COVID-19 relief measures.
However, the Trump administration last week indicated the president would sign a spending bill that also extends funding for certain expiring health care policies, including stopping the impending cut to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funding. America’s Essential Hospitals would welcome a provision in the CR to block the Medicaid DSH cuts scheduled for fiscal year 2021 and beyond, without adding additional reductions in later years.
At this time, the prospect of Congress advancing COVID-19 relief legislation before the November election appears unlikely. Last week, the Senate failed to advance a COVID-19 bill authored by Republican leaders after all Democrats withheld their support.
COVID-19 Committee Work
Meanwhile, congressional committees continue their oversight of the federal response to COVID-19.
The Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a Sept. 16 hearing at 10 am ET to review the Department of Health and Human Services’ response to COVID-19 and discuss next steps.