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Monday, October 21, 2013

Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Appropriations Process: FAQs Regarding Potential Legislative Changes and Effects of a Government Shutdown

C. Stephen Redhead
Specialist in Health Policy

Jessica Tollestrup
Analyst on Congress and the Legislative Process

Edward C. Liu
Legislative Attorney

Clinton T. Brass
Specialist in Government Organization and Management

Congress has yet to complete legislative action on any of the 12 regular appropriations bills to fund the routine operations of federal agencies for FY2014, which began on October 1, 2013.
Moreover, lawmakers have been unable to agree on a continuing appropriations bill, or continuing resolution (CR),2 to provide funding for part or all of the new fiscal year. As a result, the federal government has begun a shutdown of programs that lack budget authority3 to continue operations in FY2014, except in certain circumstances.

Congress is deeply divided over implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA),
5 the health reform law enacted in March 2010. Some lawmakers opposed to the ACA have advocated the use of the appropriations process to eliminate funding for the law or to delay its implementation. On September 20, 2013, the House approved an FY2014 CR (H.J.Res. 59) to provide temporary funding for the federal government until December 15, 2013. H.J.Res. 59, as passed by the House, incorporated language that would prohibit the use of any federal funds to carry out the ACA. The Senate amendment to H.J.Res. 59 did not incorporate the House ACA defunding language. The House then proposed changes to the Senate amendment to delay the ACA’s implementation, but the Senate rejected those changes. With the two chambers unable to reach agreement on H.J.Res. 59 by October 1, 2013, the government commenced a partial shutdown of its operations.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has posted agency shutdown plans (also called contingency plans) on its website.
6 These plans may be modified and re-posted. Some press outlets have reported on the contents of these plans and their potential implications for agency activities.

Date of Report: October 2, 2013
Number of Pages: 23
Order Number: R43246
Price: $29.95

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