Children's Monitor Online
A Public Policy Update from the Child Welfare League of America

   
   
Vol. 23, Issue 22: 6/28/2010   
Headlines

Senate Fails to Pass FMAP Again

House Plans to Proceed with FY2011 Budget

Senate Confirms HHS Nominations

Announcement of Funds for Child & Family Programs

New Website Promotes Advocacy, Action

Correction

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



Senate Fails to Pass FMAP Again

Late Wednesday evening, the Senate introduced a revised version of H.R. 4213, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act. The critical vote took place on Thursday and once again the Senate could not come up with the 60 votes needed for passage. At press time, there was no consensus as to how to move forward with a package that would offer financial relief to the most vulnerable states and constituents, and not increase the overall deficit.

The most recent version of the legislation contained even more cuts in an effort to build support. One of the cuts was to the Medicaid funding that many states are depending on in order to balance their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, the FMAP provision. This provision in its most recent form was cut substantially, from $24.2 billion to $16.2 billion, and would be phased out over the course of fiscal year 2011. Under the new version, beginning in January 2011, the matching rate will be increased by 3.2 percent through March 2011, and phased down to 1.2% from April to June 2011. The only remaining provision in the legislation not offset was an extension of expanded unemployment insurance through November 30, which would cost about $35.5 billion. The package also included the "doc fix" provision, preventing cuts in payments to Medicare physicians through November 30. None of the cuts seemed to make a definitive difference to the remaining senators opposing the bill.

When the Senate stripped the doc fix provision from the original extenders package and decided to pass it as a stand-alone bill, the House pushed back and resolved that they would not move forward on the stand-alone provision without a guarantee from the Senate that they would do something to restore jobs and emergency relief to the American people. As a result, Senate Democrats spent much of last week continuing to negotiate with a handful of Republicans but were unable to find a compromise on the extenders package.

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House Plans to Proceed with FY2011 Budget

With the August recess approaching quickly, the House leadership has determined that they will proceed with trying to pass a deeming budget resolution, but will not pursue a full budget. This will be the first time in decades that the House has not passed a full budget resolution. At press time, there had been discussions of a $1.121 trillion package for this version of the budget. This total is about $7 billion less than what President Obama proposed. As of this writing no formal package had been unveiled. Early indications are the Senate will pursue a budget package that will also set the FY2011 discretionary number at the same level as the House.

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Senate Confirms HHS Nominations

Last week, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the Senate had confirmed the nominations of Sherry Glied as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and Jim Esquea as Assistant Secretary for Legislation.

Sebelius highlighted Glied’s experience in health and mental health policy research, specifically on issues of child and adolescent mental health policy. Glied comes to her new position from the Department of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Esquea previously worked for the Senate Budget Committee where he built a wealth of knowledge with regards to income security and Medicaid issues. During his tenure as staff on the committee, he covered child welfare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, supplemental nutrition assistance, public housing, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and a host of other health programs.

Even with the confirmations of these two officials, HHS is still lacking a permanent head at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS oversees both the Medicaid and CHIP programs, but has not had a permanent administrator in place since 2006. Dr. Donald Berwick, a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics, was nominated to the post by President Obama in April of this year.

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Announcement of Funds for Child & Family Programs

Designated tribal funding for home visiting under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been announced by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Grants will be funded competitively in two phases, (1) needs assessment and (2) capacity building and implementation. The $3 million available is expected to fund 15 tribal grants ranging from $100,000 to $500,000. Applications are due July 26.

Funding has also been announced by the Family and Youth Services Bureau for Mentoring Children of Prisoners Statewide Projects. Projects must be one-on-one, friendship-oriented programs designed with evidence-based mentoring components and a community-based approach. In addition, the project must plan to include children receiving services through ACF programs including foster care and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Information on pre-award webinars will be posted by the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Support Center. Approximately 80 grants ranging from $200,000 to $1 million are expected to be awarded. Applications are due by July 30.

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New Website Promotes Advocacy, Action

CWLA is pleased to be a launch partner for the new site SparkAction.org, an online journalism and advocacy center by and for the child and youth field. SparkAction.org covers the range of child and youth issues and gives organizations, leaders, and young people themselves a place to share their knowledge and ideas, and together raise a stronger voice for change. Whether you're looking for the latest research on early childhood, first-hand stories from foster care, a way to tell your representatives what you think about federal juvenile justice reauthorization, and anything in between, the website can help. Visit SparkAction.org to find and share information and to lend your voice to this growing movement.

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Correction

Representative Danny Davis was incorrectly identified in last week’s article regarding the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support’s hearing on the fatherhood initiatives.

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Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

July 3: Target date for House to pass all 12 appropriations bills
July 4-9: Independence Day break
August 7: Target date for Senate to pass all 12 appropriations bills
August 9-September 10: Summer recess

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