Federal Update

December 2, 2020

Good afternoon,There are just 9 days left before our federal government confronts another ominous deadline. Lawmakers have until December 11 to reach an agreement on a new federal budget.  If they can’t get it done, we are looking at either another stop gap measure such as another continuing resolution that would continue federal spending at previous year levels, passage of an Omnibus budget bill, or a government shutdown.   It appears congressional appropriators are working furiously to get an agreement on the details of a new federal spending plan, having already agreed to a top line number.  Whether either of these approaches will also include unrelated proposals for funding of one or more COVID emergency relief programs/initiatives remains to be seen.  Right now it’s a pretty tenuous path to a COVID deal, with various caucuses and bipartisan groups coming out with their own proposals for COVID Relief, while Senator Mitch McConell continues to broadcast an unwillingness to do a major spending package.  Yesterday a bipartisan congressional group of lawmakers floated a proposal that includes $160 billion in state and local aid, $180 billion in additional unemployment insurance and $288 billion for small businesses. It also has $82 billion for schools as well as $45 billion for transportation, according to a draft reviewed by POLITICO.  It also includes money for ‘health care’.  While helpful, $160 billion for states and localities will not be enough to dig New York out of the multiyear fiscal hole it finds itself in.

Yesterday several congressional aides told Politico today that the likeliest route to a new round of aid is still through Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.   McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have both called for more coronavirus relief, but GOP senators said if there is an aid package, it’s unlikely to be attached to the spending bill due by Dec. 11. That means it’s still uncertain whether Congress can actually clinch a new deal on relief before the end of the congressional lame duck session.

Names being floated as possibles to lead Health and Human Services (HHS)  include Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Michelle Lujan Girsham, the current Governor of New Mexico.   (Sources:  Politico, Roll Call, 12/1/2020)  President-elect Biden continues to announce appointments to key positions in his Administration but has yet to make public his final choice for HHS.

For more federal and state policy updates please join us for a robust discussion regarding critical issues facing our members and our collective responses to these issues. Our next NYS Council Provider Support/Public Policy call is scheduled for tomorrow morning  (12/3) at 9:15.

Dial in at 9:15 a.m. as follows:
1 (712) 775-7035
Participant Code:  935759#

Talk soon!