February 26, 2009
The Obama Administration and Congress moved this week to complete action on the current year federal budget and begin the process for enactment of a budget for 2010. This puts in place spending levels for mental illness research, services and housing programs for the remaining 7 months of FY 2009 (through September 30, 2009) and sets the stage for Congress to act on next year’s budget.
By a vote of 245-178, the House yesterday cleared a massive $410 billion "omnibus" spending bill covering the rest of the current federal fiscal year (FY 2009). Overall the bill (HR 1105) would increase spending for a broad range of domestic discretionary programs and agencies an average of 8.7%. For nearly 5 months these agencies and programs have been operating under a "continuing resolution" – keeping funding levels at FY 2008 levels since October 1, 2008. The current "continuing resolution" runs through March 6.
The Senate is expected to take up the omnibus spending bill later this week or early next week. It is critical that the Senate move quickly on this spending bill. If 60 votes cannot be achieved to pass the bill before March 6, there is a significant risk that a "continuing resolution" could remain in effect for the rest of the current fiscal year. This would in turn result in significant losses for mental illness research, services and housing that are in the omnibus appropriations bill including:
Contact your Senators and tell them to act immediately on the House-passed FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill (HR 1105). Urge your Senators to pass this bill before the current funding resolution expires on March 6. All Senate offices can be reached by calling 202-224-3121. Click here to send a letter to your Senators
Click here to read further details on mental illness funding under HR 1105.
The White House today released the broad outlines of a FY 2010 budget. The document contains few details on proposed funding levels of individual programs. However, it does set forth budget priorities in a number of key areas, most prominently comprehensive health care reform.
It is expected that a more detailed proposal, including specific funding levels for domestic programs, is forthcoming from the Obama Administration, by early April. However, the budget released today does set forth the outlines of the President’s priorities with respect to health reform. Chief among these is a $634 billion fund designed to finance expansion of health coverage for the uninsured over the coming decade – what is being termed "a major downpayment toward universal coverage." This would be financed by reductions to Medicare managed care plans (known as Medicare Advantage), reductions in Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals and allowing certain tax breaks to expire.
Click here to view the President’s budget submission to Congress.
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