Continuing Resolution Averts Government Shutdown
ASCs and other healthcare facilities avoid facing possible payment delays
BY STEVE SELDE | NOVEMBER 2019
On November 21, the president signed into law legislation that provides temporary funding for the federal government and avoided a government shutdown that could delay Medicare payments and affect ASCs. This was the second of such bills, in the form of a continuing resolution (CR) that Congress passed and the president signed this fall. While federal funding is extended only through December 20, 2019, this short-term funding certainly is something many families across the nation will be grateful on Thanksgiving, and provides more time for appropriators to reach compromises on full-year funding.
This pattern of stop-gap funding has been a common occurrence, with Congress resorting to CRs in all but three of the fiscal years since 1977. For the most part, this has been a successful tactic in staving off a government shutdown. The previous federal fiscal year was a notable exception due to the longest partial government shutdown on record, which despite the passage of CRs to buy Congress more time, occurred over 35 days from December 2018 through January 2019.
Finding partisan consensus on any issue has proved difficult this session of Congress, and while that was certainly the case in January, much has been going on the legislative front to pass full-term funding bills for fiscal year 2020. Over this weekend of November 16-17, House and Senate appropriations leaders reached an agreement on the top-line spending figures for each of the 12 appropriation subcommittees. If this agreement holds out, this gives a concrete starting position for appropriations work and greatly increases chances of passage for full-year funding. Beyond this behind-the-scenes development, both chambers of Congress have made progress in passing appropriations bills for the other chamber’s consideration.