HPNEC Update: As you may have seen, the House Appropriations Committee today
released a summary of its proposed American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill.
Included in the summary is the following bullet point:
“Training Primary Care Providers: $600 million to address shortages
and prepare our country for universal healthcare by training primary healthcare
providers including doctors, dentists, and nurses as well as helping pay
medical school expenses for students who agree to practice in underserved
communities through the National Health Service Corps.”
The summary does not specify how the proposed $600 million would be
distributed among the National Health Service Corps and/or the Title VII and
VIII health professions programs, nor is it clear if the funding would be
expended over the course of one or two years.
(Note: This information courtesy of Tannaz Rasouli,Senior Legislative Analyst, Association of American Medical Colleges)
Explanation (see pdf documents to the right for more information): On Tuesday, October 23, the Senate passed its FY 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (H.R. 3043) by a veto-proof margin of 75-19, with five Democrats not present to vote. A total of 29 Republicans voted for the bill.
Prior to final passage of the bill, the Senate rejected (40-54) a Republican amendment to recommit the bill to the Appropriations Committee to be revised to provide no more than $140.9 billion in discretionary funding.
The Senate bill includes $189.7 million for Title VII (a 2.7 percent increase), compared to $228.3 million (a 23.6 percent increase) in the House. For Title VIII, the Senate provides and $169.7 million (a 13.4 percent increase), while the House provides $165.6 million (a 10.7 percent increase). A funding table with the individual program breakdowns is attached.
Democratic staff in both the House and Senate report that November 1 is the target date for holding the House-Senate conference, with the conference report going to the House and Senate floors the week of November 5. Staff report the subcommittee allocation will split the difference between the House and the Senate. The Senate bill is $1.9 billion less than the version of the bill passed by the House on July 18. The President has indicated that he will veto both versions of the bill because they exceed his budget request.
Please encourage your members to urge their Congressional delegations to support at least $228.3 million for Title VII and $169.7 million for Title VIII in conference. Attached for your records is a copy of the HPNEC sign-on letter sent earlier this week to leaders of the appropriations Labor-HHS subcommittees in both chambers. Thank you to all who signed.
The Senate has appointed the following Senators as conferees: Harkin (D-Iowa), Inouye (D-Hawaii), Kohl (D-Wis.), Murray (D-Wash.), Landrieu (D-La.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Reed (D-R.I.), Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Byrd (D-W.Va.), Specter (R-Pa.), Cochran (R-Miss.), Gregg (R-N.H.), Craig (R-Idaho), Hutchison (R-Texas), Stevens (R-Alaska), Shelby (R-Ala.), and Domenici (R-N.M.). House conferees will not be named until right before the conference.
No decision has been made on whether the Labor-HHS bill will be the first FY 2008 spending bill sent to the President. This morning's CQToday reports that House and Senate leaders are considering a plan to send the Labor-HHS and Military Construction-VA (H.R. 2642) bills in a package to President Bush by Veterans' Day, but that no decision has been made. Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) told advocates earlier this month that the Labor-HHS bill would likely be the first spending bill sent to the White House.