Congress passes final FY11 appropriations bill

After six months of negotiations, Congress finally passed an appropriations bill for the remainder of FY 2011. Yesterday the House passed H.R. 1473, a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through September 30, with a vote of 260-167 (59 House Republicans voted against the bill, including 28 of the 87 freshmen, while 81 Democrats voted in favor). The Senate then passed the bill, with a bipartisan 81-19 vote. The legislation will go to the President today for his expected signature.

As reported by the Alliance on Tuesday, Department of State exchange programs will receive a 5.5% cut in this bill, dropping the exchange appropriation from $635 million to $600 million for the remainder of FY 2011. In addition, according to the House Appropriations Committee, all non-defense accounts are slated to receive an additional 0.2 per cent across-the-board cut. It is still uncertain how this cut will affect individual programs within the State exchanges budget.