House Two-Week Spending Bill Includes Major Spending Cuts
As you know, the federal government is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR), as Congress has not passed a budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. The current CR expires on March 4. If Congress does not reach an agreement prior to that time, many functions of the federal government would be curtailed.

House Republicans have proposed a temporary measure that appears to be gaining bipartisan support. Under the proposal, the CR would be extended until March 18. The measure would maintain current funding levels for most programs until that time. However, the proposal also includes an immediate cut of $4 billion in FY 2011 spending. Of that amount, approximately $1.2 billion would be from cuts in programs identified in the president's 2012 budget request for reduction or elimination. Furthermore, the temporary spending proposal would revoke $2.7 billion in Congressional "earmarks" requested by individual lawmakers.

The House of Representatives passed the short-term CR by a vote of 335-91 on March 1. The House of Representatives passed the short-term CR by a vote of 335-91 on March 1, the Senate on March 2. Once the temporary measure is in place, the House and Senate will continue negotiations on appropriations for the remainder of FY 2011.

In February, the House of Representatives approved a spending bill that cuts overall federal spending by $61 billion in FY 2011. This House-passed legislation proposes profound reductions to education programs of critical importance to the health care professions pipeline — the Nursing Workforce Development Programs (Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act) and the Health Professions Programs (Title VII) administered at the Health Resources and Services Administration. The CR will shrink funding, in the remaining seven months of FY 2011, for Title VII and Title VIII programs to $352.8 million, a $145.1 million (29.1 percent) decrease from FY 2010 levels. In comparison, the H.R. 1 decrease would bring these education programs near to the FY 2008 level when they received $350 million. Senate Democrats have indicated their opposition to the House GOP proposal and will be introducing their own.

Bill Seeks Funding for Missouri's Nursing Shortage
The Missouri House Committee on Higher Education is considering a grant funding bill aimed at addressing the nursing shortage in the state. HB 223 would allocate $1 million over three years to hire new faculty and train more nurses at state universities. The state funding would be part of Governor Jay Nixon's (D) Caring for Missourians program, administered with the cooperation of the State Board of Nursing and the Department of Higher Education. The funding would come from RN licensing fees.

The bill's sponsor, Representative Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau), has stated that one reason a nursing shortage exists in Missouri is the lack of nursing school faculty at state universities, which forces programs to turn away a large number of applicants. Those universities interested in receiving grants would have to apply and have their applications examined by the board of nursing and the Department of Higher Education. The best applications would make the strongest cases for how more faculty would increase enrollment and graduation.

        Volume 8, Issue 2
            March 2011

House Two-Week Spending Bill Includes Major Spending Cuts


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