Capitol to Capitol
An Information Service of NCSL's Standing Committees

Volume 18   Issue 18 - April 13, 2011
 

THE END IS NEAR … APPARENTLY

The nation is now 195 days into FY 2011, and the House and Senate are poised to wrap up their FY 2011 appropriations work. The vehicle is H.R. 1473, legislation produced by an agreement struck by congressional leaders and the administration late last Friday night. The legislation extracts $38.5 billion from nondefense domestic discretionary and mandatory accounts, with state-federal discretionary programs reduced just less than 4 percent from their FY 2010 levels. H.R. 1473 will be on the House floor Thursday, April 14, with the Senate following later that day or the next. The latest continuing resolution expires on April 15. H.R. 1473 appears on track for passage, but there will be vociferous debate. NCSL succeeded in its effort to prevent further underfunding of education program mandates. State-federal programs hit with sizeable reductions from FY 2010 include the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC) and state homeland security grant programs. This is the first time homeland security grants have been reduced sizably since the Homeland Security Department was established. Also in for significant reductions are various job training programs, high-speed rail, the community development block grant, the COPS program and the aforementioned revolving funds. Additional information along with program-by-program breakdowns are available at: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?TabId=22511.  (NCSL staff contacts: Michael Bird, Jeff Hurley)


HEALTH CARE REFORM REPEALER CLEARS CONGRESS

Last week, the Senate gave its 87-12 approval to H.R. 4, which would repeal a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires businesses to report (using Form 1099) all their transactions with vendors that exceed $600 in goods in a year. Despite earlier objections, Congress “paid” for this repeal by limiting the amounts required for repayment of advance premium assistance tax credits for health insurance. The president is expected to sign this legislation. (NCSL staff contacts: Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan)


GREENHOUSE GAS FIGHT CONTINUES

On April 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 910, which would block implementation or promulgation of existing or future regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation cleared on a 255-172 vote. H.R. 910 also nullifies the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 endangerment finding pertaining to greenhouse gas emissions and public health. Although there is support for imposing some sort of temporary or permanent regulatory curb on these emissions in the Senate, members have been unable to rally around a consensus or compromise piece of legislation. Four greenhouse gas-related amendments to an underlying small business reauthorization bill, S.493, failed on the Senate floor last week. This issue also found its way into the appropriations debate (see first article above) but was dropped during negotiations at the insistence of the administration and the Senate majority. Stay tuned. (NCSL staff contacts: Tamra Spielvogel, Max Behlke)    


MANDATORY SPENDING/HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS FRONT AND CENTER

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a quintet of bills last week that would eliminate mandatory or direct funding for a potpourri of health programs. Headlining the list is H.R. 1213 that would repeal mandatory funding of grants for states to use when developing insurance exchanges. Without automatic mandatory funding, programs are subject to the annual appropriations process. The committee also passed H.R. 1214, which would repeal mandatory funding for construction of school-based health centers. H.R. 1215 and H.R. 1216 would change the funding of graduate medical education, teen pregnancy prevention programs, and sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment programs to the annual appropriations process. And the final bill, H.R. 1217, would repeal the public health and prevention fund outright. These bills move to the House floor for debate next month. (NCSL staff contacts: Joy Johnson Wilson, Rachel Morgan)  


ON THE HORIZON

The House of Representatives concludes business this week with floor debate and votes on H.J.Res. 1, the FY 2012 budget resolution by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and alternate budgets to be offered by the Republican Study Group and the Democratic minority. Please go to NCSL’s webpage http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?TabId=22501 for summary materials.