Update: February 9, 2018
Early Friday morning, following a partial government shutdown, Congress passed a two-year budget agreement. President Trump signed the bipartisan budget plan into law shortly thereafter, ending the second federal work stoppage in less than a month.
On Wednesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Ranking Minority Member Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced a bipartisan deal to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2018 that began on October 1. The deal also provides a two-year deal to raise the amount spent on discretionary programs without triggering automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. The budget deal will be attached to another short-term continuing resolution in order to avert another government shutdown at midnight tonight, when the current continuing resolution is set to expire.
The package also includes specific funding requests for programs important to the Autism Society including the following (Figures are over two years):
· $6 billion to fund the opioid and mental health treatment services
· $5.8 billion for the bipartisan Child Care Development Block Grant program
· $2 billion for important research at NIH (above CURES Act increases)
· Two-year reauthorization for Community Health Centers with increased funding
· Ten-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) (increased from six years)
· Health Extenders, including permanently repealing the therapy cap, delaying the Medicaid Disproportionate share hospital cuts, and 5 years of funding for home visiting programs
· $28 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for housing, infrastructure repairs, economic revitalization, and other needs
· Additional funding for the Social Security Administration to reduce the backlog in services
It is not entirely sure the package will win enough support to pass the House. The House passed a continuing resolution earlier this week that did not include a two-year deal to raise the discretionary caps. House Democrats may hold out for the agreement to include a deal on immigration reform. Fiscal conservative members may oppose the increased spending on domestic programs. Stay tuned for more updates.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held the House floor for a record-breaking eight hours Wednesday (in high heels!) to make it clear that she wouldn’t support the agreement without a commitment from Speaker Paul Ryan for an immigration debate that would be “bipartisan” and “transparent,” and include a vote on extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the President is expected to deliver his budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 to the Congress. A briefing on the President’s budget will be available to for advocates across the country on February 14 at 12:30 p.m. ET. The briefing is sponsored by the the Coalition on Human Needs, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Center for American Progress, and the Food Research & Action Center . For more information or register for the webinar, go to CHN’s website. The Autism Society will also analyze and provide a summary of the budget’s impact on disability programs soon after its release.