House Passes Budget Resolution With No Reductions To Medicaid, Medicare

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The House on Thursday voted214-210 to approve a $3.1 trillion fiscal year 2009 budget resolution (S ConRes 70) that includes increases in funds for domestic programs and excludesreductions in funds for Medicare and Medicaid proposed by President Bush, the AP/Kansas City Star reports. The Senate approved theresolution on Wednesday (Taylor, AP/Kansas City Star, 6/6).

The resolution includes $1.013 trillion in discretionary spending (Sanchez, CongressDaily,6/5). The resolution would provide $21 billion more in discretionary spendingthan Bush requested. Under the resolution, programs for veterans would receive$3.3 billion more than Bush requested, with most of those funds allocated forhealth care (Montgomery, Washington Post, 6/6).

House Appropriations subcommittees likely will begin to mark up the 12 appropriations bills next week, and Senate Appropriations subcommittees likely will begin the process later this month (Clarke, CQ Today, 6/5).

Prospects

According to The Hill, with the "budget debate over, questions immediatelyturned to whether Congress will pass annual spending bills before it adjournsand set up an almost-certain showdown with the Bush White House during itsfinal year" (Allen, The Hill, 6/5).

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"Democrats are considering delaying passage of most of the bills until anew president takes office in January" because "Bush has vowed toveto appropriations bills that exceed his spending requests," the WashingtonPost reports (Washington Post, 6/6). As a result, theresolution "essentially leaves the budget on autopilot for a year untileither" presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama(Ill.) or presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) "canpropose a budget," the AP/Star reports.

Meanwhile, "Republicans lamented the lost opportunity to tackle thebiggest budget challenge: the rapidly spiraling cost of Medicare, SocialSecurity and ... Medicaid," with the long-term growth of the programslikely to "force policymakers to cut back ... or else put the governmenton an unsustainable deficit path," according to the AP/Star (AP/KansasCity Star, 6/6).

Revised Supplemental WarAppropriations Bill

In related news, the Housenext week likely will vote on a revised supplemental war appropriations billthat includes a one-year moratorium on some new Medicaid regulations proposedby the Bush administration, CongressDaily reports (Bourge/Schneider,CongressDaily, 6/5). House aides have said the legislation likelywill include a moratorium on four of the seven Medicaid regulations. Earlierversions of the bill included a moratorium on all seven Medicaid regulations.

House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-Wis.) and other HouseDemocrats have met with White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle to discuss thelegislation, which Bush has threatened to veto in part because of themoratorium on the Medicaid regulations (Rogin, CQ Today, 6/5). ADemocratic aide said, "We are trying to negotiate a bill that thepresident will sign" (Bourge/Schneider, CongressDaily, 6/5).

House Democratic leaders also have met with members of the Blue Dog Coalition to address their concerns about a lack of offsets for some of the fundsthat the bill would provide (Bendery,Roll Call, 6/5). In addition, "Senate Democrats made it clearThursday that their legislative priorities also must be considered by Houseleaders who are crafting the latest" version of the bill, CQ Todayreports (Rogin, CQ Today, 6/5).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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