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.


Deficit Reduction and FY 2012 Appropriations Agenda

This Wednesday President Obama will address a joint session of Congress to put forward his “jobs” agenda.  The plan will likely include new federal spending proposals which conflict with Republicans’ focus on deficit reduction.  The co-chairs of the Joint Select Deficit Reduction Committee appointed Mark Prater, currently the deputy staff director and chief tax counsel for Republican members of the Finance Committee, to lead the deficit reduction talks as chief of staff.  His knowledge of the tax code may be an indication that the panel will be looking for means to increase taxes or even reform the individual and corporate tax code.  Congress and the joint committee face the following deadlines:

September, 2011: Congress is likely to pass a continuing resolution to continue federal funding after October 1st, the beginning of the new fiscal year, given that House Republicans have indicated they will not move standalone FY 2012 appropriations bills this month.  Setting the stage for later consideration, on September 7th the Senate will allocate $1.043 trillion in overall spending for the 12 appropriations bills via the 302(b) budget process.

Sept. 8: The super committee holds its first organizational meeting; on the agenda will be setting the rules.

Sept. 13: First public hearing, which will include testimony on “The History and Drivers of Our Nation’s Debt and Its Threats” from CBO.

Sept. 22: Deadline for Congress to consider a resolution of disapproval for first $900 billion of deficit reduction under the BCA (Budget Control Act of 2011, P.L. 112-25).

Oct. 1-Dec. 31: Timeframe in which both houses of Congress must vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Oct. 14: House and Senate committees must submit recommendations to the super committee by this date.

Nov. 23: Deadline for the super committee to vote on a plan with at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.

Dec. 2: Deadline for the super committee to submit report and legislative language to the President and Congress.

Dec. 23: Deadline for both houses to vote on the super committee recommendations.

Jan. 15, 2012: Date that the “trigger” leading to $1.2 trillion of future spending cuts goes into effect, if the super committee’s recommendations have not been enacted.

February 2012: Approximate time when the first $900 billion of deficit reduction runs out.
February/March 2012: During this period, 15 days after the President uses his authority in the BCA to increase the debt ceiling for a second time, Congress must consider a resolution of disapproval for the second tier ($1.2-$1.5 trillion) of deficit reduction.

Fall/Winter 2012: The additional $2.1-$2.4 trillion of borrowing authority from BCA runs out.
Jan. 2, 2013: OMB orders equal sequestrations for defense and non-defense categories of spending necessary to meet spending cuts required under the trigger, if the super committee recommendations are rejected.

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