September 30, 2022

Congress Passes Stopgap Spending Measure, Averting Government Shutdown

Congress on Friday, hours before the fiscal year funding deadline, passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded at current levels through December 16, 2022. The measure, the Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023 (H.R. 6833), passed the Senate in a 72-25 vote on Thursday, September 29, paving the way for the House to pass the bill on Friday afternoon in a 230-201 vote. Its passage provides lawmakers more time to reach a deal on fiscal year (FY) 2023 spending legislation or approve another stopgap spending bill. The bill now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed.

In addition to the CR, the legislation includes $12 billion in aid for Ukraine, $20 million in emergency funding to address the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, and extensions for Medicare and child and family services program. The bill also allows for the reauthorization of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee programs (the Biosimilar User Fee Act, the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments, the Medical Device User Fee Amendments, and the Prescription DrugUser Fee Act) for another five years. Notably, the package does not provide funding requested by the White House to address monkeypox and COVID-19.

In remarks on the House Floor this morning, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said, “While this legislation provides a bridge to an omnibus, it is not perfect. I am saddened that the continuing resolution does not fully meet some of our country’s most urgent needs, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and monkeypox.” Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Shelby (R-AL) said, “Now, with very little time remaining, we must complete full year appropriations bills…We need to finish the job.”

While the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) recognizes the critical need to avert a government shutdown, the Society is also opposed to continued reliance on CRs, given their harmful short- and long-term effects on the scientific enterprise. SWHR last week, along with members of the Friends of the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) Executive Committee, sent a letter to federal appropriators urging the swift passage of FY 2023 spending legislation and emphasizing the need for steady, timely investments into our nation’s research entities, including ORWH. As stated in the letter, “Especially now, we cannot afford to threaten robust, predictable funding for these institutions, which contribute to our nation’s health, security, and well-being.”

The text of the bill can be accessed here, and a summary can be accessed here. Read more about the CR from NPR and Government Executive.