ADEA Washington Update

Temporary CHIP Fix, Defense Dollars in Stopgap Funding Measure

(Funding, Legislation, House, Senate, CHIP) Permanent link   All Posts

FundingScrabbleCongress acted to keep the government open by passing a short-term spending measure that maintains current spending levels through Jan. 19 and provides $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the Defense Department.

Congress’ new year agenda will include resolving a dispute over defense and nondefense overall spending levels; raising the nation’s debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department expects will be reached in March; and dealing with the looming deportations of those undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers. Protections for these individuals under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which covers young people who entered the United States illegally as children, and is also set to expire in March.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reiterated his party’s demand to attach an immigration compromise to the spending bill. Senate Republicans seem to be working toward bipartisan immigration legislation, saying they are optimistic a deal can be struck soon, but it will come down to how much President Donald Trump is willing to compromise on his own wish list.

While many in Congress are eager to take the federal budget off auto-pilot and direct more funding toward the opioid abuse crisis, medical research and other priorities, lawmakers are divided over how much to spend and how much to add to deficits. To get the stopgap bill enacted, lawmakers dropped plans to provide long-term financing for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), instead allotting a one-time payment of $2.85 billion to cover Oct. 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018. The temporary relief still leaves CHIP and families that rely on it in a state of uncertainty. A long-term, likely five-year, extension of funding for CHIP will most likely be part of the next spending bill

The Senate also must take up a separate $81 billion disaster aid appropriations package requested by the President. The House passed a disaster aid package on Dec. 21, but senators have not said when or if they will take up the House bill. This package is especially important to Members of Congress from Texas, Florida, California, and Puerto Rico. 

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