Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


Government Shutdown on April 8?

Last week’s pronouncement by Vice President Joseph Biden that congressional negotiators were ready to agree on a CR for the remainder of FY 2011 which would achieve $30-33 billion in discretionary spending cuts was quickly shot down by House Speaker John Boehner who said that “nothing has been agreed to until everything has been agreed to” (including specific line-item cuts).  An agreement would have to be reached early this week to avoid a government shutdown on Friday, midnight, given House and Senate rules requiring advance notice of legislation and floor time for debate.  If an agreement can be reached this week, a short-term CR extending into next week is likely to be enacted.  If an agreement is not reached in a timely fashion, House Speaker Boehner will be put in the position of having to round up enough Republican and Democrat votes for a CR extending beyond the Spring recess which begins April 15 and ends on May 2nd.  Continuing to complicate the negotiations is the looming vote to increase the statutory federal debt limit, particularly with House Republican deficit hawks threatening to vote against increasing the limit if the new CR does not include riders, such as PPACA defunding, and substantial cuts, such as the $61 billion under H.R. 1 as passed by the House.  In a bit of gamesmanship, last week the House passed H.R. 1255, the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, which “deems” that H.R. 1 as previously passed by the House would become “law” unless the Senate passes FY 2011 legislation before April 6.  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed the gimmick as a waste of time that undermines negotiations.  Some Democrats have prodded the White House to become more engaged in finding a resolution to the impasse even as President Obama slammed a potential government shutdown as creating new hurdles to economic recovery.

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