The House and Senate Budget Committees both passed fiscal 2009 budget resolutions this week which would provide significant increases for health discretionary programs.In its markup on Wednesday, the House Budget Committee provided a $4.4 billion increase in health discretionary programs. On Thursday, the Senate Budget Committee provided an even higher $5.27 billion increase for such programs in its budget resolution. These increases represent a good sign for health program funding in this year's budget and appropriations cycle. Earlier this year, BIAA joined nearly 450 other health advocacy organizations in signing on to a letter to Congress urging a $5.3 billion increase over the level provided last year.
Next week, these fiscal 2009 budget resolutions are expected to be the focal point of legislative activity on the floors of both the House and Senate, as both chambers will consider their respective budget plans before adjourning for the two-week spring recess which begins on March 17.
Note: The budget resolution is non-binding, and represents the first step in the year-long budgeting and appropriations process. The next steps will be to pass the budget resolution - which can often present a challenge in the Senate - and then to work to ensure that the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee receives an allocation reflecting the health community's recommendation. Meanwhile, BIAA continues to actively advocate for increased funding for TBI programs within the ultimate fiscal 2009 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee bill.