Congress Hoping For Regular Appropriations Process

The Republicans in Congress held their annual retreat in Baltimore late last week in an effort to plot out their strategy for 2016.  There is a desire to focus on trying to pass each of the 12 appropriations bills on time by October 1. That is something that has not happened since 1994 when there were 13 bills. The House [...]

Addressing Heroin/Prescription Drug Problem Offer Bipartisan Angle  

In his January 12, State of The Union address President Obama shied away from a list of specific policy proposals but he did single out a few areas including the drug use issue that is starting to rattle the foster care numbers. President Obama said, "Helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse” was one of the [...]

White House Highlights Efforts On Substance Abuse

Late last week the White House circulated an announcement highlighting Administration’s efforts to address the opioid epidemic in 2015. It is a topic that is certain to get greater focus in the February budget and possibly in the State of the Union address. In their highlights they listed the FY 2016 budget requests, some of which received increases. It is [...]

President Delivers Final State of the Union, Budget Due February 9

The President will deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 12 for the final time in his presidency. The speech is expected to be more general in tone than in the past speeches with the President focusing on his larger vision for the country rather than specific programs or budget requests. The Administration also announced the release [...]

2016 Congressional Session Short and Uncertain

When Congress returns this week it will mark the beginning of a very short congressional calendar.  The President is scheduled to deliver his last State of the Union address on January12 which will unofficially begin the new budget debate for FY 2017.  The official budget will come a little more than four weeks later in early February.  Beyond that little [...]

2016 Budget Is Final

On Tuesday night Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS) announced a final budget deal that wraps up appropriations for the rest of fiscal year 2016.  The House approved the package in parts with approval of the appropriations, the final piece, coming on Friday.  The Senate wasted no time in voting later that day to approve the combined two parts of the deal. [...]

Budget Deal Delay Until December 16—At Least

The only thing clear by the end of last week was that Congress needs more time to negotiate a final budget for FY 2016. By Friday both houses of Congress adopted an extension of federal funding from its expiration on December 11 to December 16 of this week. Reports were kept confidential but what has been said publically indicates that [...]

Reconciliation Repeals ACA/Planned Parenthood Funding, House Now

The House is expected to re-approve a reconciliation bill that guts the ACA and cuts Planned Parenthood funding this week.  The Senate redesigned an earlier House version in an effort to attract enough Republican Senators.  The bill passed the Senate on Thursday by a vote of 52 to 47.  Two Republican Senators (Kirk R-IL, and Collins R-ME) voted no due [...]

Senate Finance Could Take Up Child Welfare Legislation

When Congress returns this week there is the possibility the Senate Finance Committee could take up a child welfare bill that is still very much in flux. The draft bill, the Families First Act, would allow Title IV-E funding on a limited category of substance abuse, mental health and in-home parent support programs for up to 12 months contingent on [...]

Appropriations Discussions Ongoing and Uncertain

Appropriations decisions are likely to come to a head in the next ten days. The deadline before the government runs out of funding is December 11. While staffers and committee members continued to work on allocating funding between the 12 spending categories and various priorities within those 12 committee jurisdictions it is still unclear how policy riders including issues such [...]