The Congress has declared a new bipartisan agreement on a compilation of appropriations Bill used to support the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Since the previous year, the Congress has been actively involved in passing short-term Continuing Resolutions (CR) for funding the government. A recently passed CR has expired and the Congress has made a provision by passing a one-week CR for completing the Bill. With this new $1.1 trillion Bill, the overall defense spending, which is one of the main priorities of the Trump Administration, is expected to increase by $15 billion.
In the previous fiscal year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has received an increased funding of $2.8 billion and is stated to be funded at $73.5 billion in total. Along with that, the funding of other services like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has attained a $44 billion increase, while the National Institute of Health (NIH) got an additional $2 billion. The negotiations were carried out smoothly without any issue, although there was some confusion earlier whether the deal would be reached.
It is reported that President Trump has reiterated his stance on denying funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its health insurance cost-sharing subsidies unless the Congress offer the necessary funding for the border wall with Mexico. The US President has also agreed to fund the various cost-sharing subsidies if the plans are passed. It is to be noted that the latest Bill also offers an additional $1.5 billion for enhancing the border security, although the Congress has made it clear that they will not fund the construction of the border wall.
Consumers on the health insurance exchanges that earn about 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) can avail the various cost-sharing reduction subsidies. Distinct from the premium assistance accessible for individuals that earn about 400 percent of the FPL, these subsidies are intended for aiding the various spending requirements of the health plans like co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance.
The House of Representatives and the Trump Administration have engaged in numerous lawsuits about finding for Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) plans. The lawsuit has disagreed with the opposing party by stating the sole authority of the Congress in funding the CSRs. However, the case was ruled in favor of the House of Representatives and was petitioned by the previous Administration under former US President Barack Obama.
The new agreement made on the Bill showed a healthy legislative bipartisanship prevalent in the House. With the funding stated to expire in September, the Congress needs a repetition of the whole process.