The Federal Government is Open Again
October 18, 2013 | Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Tom Salyers
Thanks to Congress passing and President Obama signing H.R. 2775, the government was able to re-open October 17 after a 16-day partial shutdown. Here are the headlines of what H.R. 2775 does:
- Allows federal government spending at 2013 levels (which encompass the reductions of the sequester) through January 15, 2014, allowing federal programs to resume and employees to go back to work.
- Suspends the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014.
- Extends TANF and related child care funding through January 15, 2014. States that spent their own funds during the shutdown can either request federal reimbursement or count those expenditures toward the required level of state spending (maintenance of effort).
- Allows SNAP benefits to be paid for the upcoming months, even if Congress does not enact a Farm bill.
- Reimburses states for the funds they advanced for federally funded programs, such as WIC or the disability determination service.
- Ensures that the District of Columbia can continue to spend its own funds throughout FY 2014, even if there is another shutdown in January.
- Makes no changes to the benefits or timeline of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Individuals and families, including low-income families who need ACA most, continue to have access to affordable health insurance effective January 1. HHS must confirm that the Health Care Marketplaces are verifying eligibility as required under law.
While not part of the bill, an agreement was reached to convene a joint House/Senate conference committee that is charged with devising a final budget resolution by December 13, 2013.
We will be closely monitoring the work of the conference committee in the coming weeks, particularly as the members deliberate over funding for programs serving low-income people.
To read the entire text of H.R. 2775, click here.