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September 23, 2020

House passes continuing resolution to fund government through Dec. 11, 359-57

Democrats add farm aid to CR in exchange for increased food aid for low-income families

By a vote of 359-57, the House on September 22 passed a stopgap continuing resolution (HR 8337), or CR, to fund government operations through December 11. House Democrats agreed to revise the bill released Monday (HR 8319) to restore $30 billion for the Agriculture Department's Commodity Credit Corporation sought by the Trump administration and farm-state lawmakers, in exchange for almost $8 billion more for a pandemic program to feed children who normally receive school lunches.

With funding for the government set to expire on September 30, the revised bill is expected to be taken up and passed by the Senate quickly.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said the new bill "increases accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation [CCC], preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout." In another statement on the changes made to the bill, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) said the bill renews the "vital, expiring lifeline of Pandemic EBT [electronic benefit transfer] for a full year. … Democrats secured urgently needed assistance for schoolchildren to receive meals despite the coronavirus's disruption of their usual schedules, whether virtual or in-person, and expanded Pandemic EBT access for young children in child care. We also extended key flexibility for states to lower administrative requirements on SNAP for families in the middle of this crisis."

During debate on the House floor, Rodney Davis (R-IL) said, "The last thing the United States needs right now, in the midst of a pandemic, is a lapse in government funding that was set to expire at the end of this month. I'm extremely disappointed that it took us this long to get the CCC … replenished in this agreement and not held hostage by the majority."

Broadly, HR 8337 would:

  • extend government funding beyond September 30 and through December 11
  • extend health extender provisions through December 11
  • extend surface transportation programs for one year, through September 30, 2021
  • transfer $13.6 billion to the Highway Trust Fund
  • extend the National Flood Insurance Program for a year, until September 30, 2021

Health Provisions in the CR

According to a summary by the House Appropriations Committee, the health "extenders" in the bill fall into three categories:

Public Health Extenders.The bill extends through December 11:

  • funding for Community Health Centers, National Health Service Corps, and the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education Program
  • funding for the Special Diabetes Program and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians
  • authorization of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)
  • authorization of the Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) program
  • the Rare Pediatric Priority Review Voucher (PRV) program at the FDA

Medicare Extenders. The bill extends through December 11:

  • the work geographic practice cost index floor under the Medicare Program
  • funding for quality measure selection and to support HHS's contract with a consensus-based entity (e.g., the National Quality Forum) for quality measurement and performance improvement activities
  • funding through for low-income Medicare beneficiary outreach, enrollment and education activities provided through State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, Area Agencies on Aging, Aging and Disability Resource Centers and the National Center for Benefits and Outreach and Enrollment

Medicaid Extenders. The bill extends through December 11:

  • funding for the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration
  • protections against impoverishment for the spouses of individuals receiving home- and community-based services (HCBS)
  • authorization for the certified community behavioral health clinics

The bill delays repayment of the Accelerated and Advanced Medicare payments for one year and makes changes to the recoupment of payments. The bill also delays implementation of the allotment reductions for Medicaid disproportionate share hospitals (DSH) through December 11 and holds the 2021 Part B monthly premium at the 2020 amount for the standard premium, plus 25% of the difference between the 2020 amount and the preliminary monthly actuarial rate for 2021. Health offsets in the bill clarify that drugs and biologicals used for medication-assisted treatment, which must be covered by Medicaid beginning October 1, 2020, will continue to be eligible for rebates under the Medicaid program, and provides increased funding for the Medicaid improvement fund.


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Washington Council Ernst & Young
   • Any member of the group, at (202) 293-7474.