This bill became the vehicle for passage of continuing appropriations which re-opened the federal government after a three-day shut-down. The bill:
- extended funding for government programs at levels similar to existing funding through Feb. 8, 2018
- extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years
- extended the existing suspensions of the Affordable Care Act's medical device excise tax through 2019 and the tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage through 2021
- saved $1M through an unrelated provision that would restrict the distribution of free printed copies of the Federal Register, the government's daily publication of agency notices and new regulations, to Members of Congress and other officials, which was the original subject of the bill before it became the vehicle for passage of other matters
Continuing appropriations are stop-gap measures when full fiscal-year appropriations funding bills are not enacted. If the government is not funded by another appropriations bill by Feb. 9, 2018, the government will shut down again. The previous appropriations bill, H.R. 1370, funded the government through Jan. 19, 2018, and prior to that H.R. 601 funded the government through Dec. 8, 2017.
This bill had an unusually complex legislative history and previously contained provisions on an unrelated matter.
Extension of Continuing Appropriations
The bill became the government funding bill on Jan. 18, 2018, when the House replaced the previous text of the bill (described below) with the short-term continuing appropriations provisions to fund the government through Feb. 16, 2018 (vote). In replacing the text, the House sent the bill back to the Senate.
But the bill failed to be passed by both chambers in this form following a failed Senate cloture vote late in the night on Jan. 19, leading to a government shutdown beginning on Jan. 20, when the most recent appropriations laws expired. Senate Democrats largely opposed the bill because it did not include an extension of the immigration program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Senate Republicans and President Trump largely opposed including DACA without provisions to strengthen border security, which Senate Democrats opposed.
After three days of negotiations, an agreement was reached on the final measure --- which was identical to the House-passed bill except that funding would be made for a shorter period of time to force another negotiation sooner. No provisions related to DACA or border security were added after all.
On Jan. 22, 2018, the Senate achieved cloture and then passed the bill with the revised end date of the appropriations, the House passed the bill, S. Con. Res. 33 was passed in both chambers to add the original Federal Register positions back into the bill (see below), achieving the bill's final form described at the top of this summary, and the President signed it.
Federal Register Cost Savings Bill
H.R. 195 was originally introduced only as a simple cost savings bill by "restrict[ing] the distribution of free printed copies of the Federal Register to Members of Congress and other officers and employees of the United States," saving $1 million annually. It passed the House in that form on May 17, 2017, but these provisions were removed when the Senate passed the bill (explained next), and then were added back in the final form of the bill (explained above). (Also see the Senate companion bill S. 1195, which is now moot.)
An alert program for missing Alzheimer’s disease patients
On Dec. 21, 2017, the Senate replaced the text of the bill in whole with Kevin and Avonte's Law of 2017, an extension of an alert program for missing Alzheimer’s disease patients, sending the bill back to the House. Further action on this matter may occur on S. 2070 or H.R. 4221. When the House brought the Senate-revised bill back to the floor on Jan. 18, 2018, it replaced the bill's text again, in whole, with the government funding bill, as described above.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 23, 2018.
DIVISION A--FEDERAL REGISTER PRINTING SAVINGS ACT OF 2017
Federal Register Printing Savings Act of 2017
(Sec. 2) This division bars the Government Publishing Office from furnishing a printed copy of the Federal Register without charge to any Member of Congress or any other office of the United States during a year unless the Member or office requests: (1) a printed copy of a specific issue of the Federal Register, or (2) a subscription to printed copies of the Federal Register for that year.
DIVISION B--EXTENSION OF CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2018
Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018
(Sec. 2001) This division amends the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 to provide continuing FY2018 appropriations to federal agencies through February 8, 2018 (January 19, 2018, under current law).
It ends the government shutdown that began when the existing continuing resolution (CR) expired because none of the 12 FY2018 regular appropriations bills that fund the federal government have been enacted.
This division also adds provisions to the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 that:
permit funds appropriated by the Department of Defense Missile Defeat and Defense Enhancements Appropriations Act, 2018 to be obligated and expended notwithstanding a provision of the National Security Act of 1947 that requires a specific authorization of appropriations for intelligence activities; provide the Department of Agriculture with funding flexibility to ensure that certain demonstration projects for providing meals to low-income children during the summer will be fully operational by May 2018; provide the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with funding flexibility to maintain the planned launch capability schedules for the Space Launch System launch vehicle, Exploration Ground Systems, and Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle programs; provide the Department of Energy with funding flexibility to maintain the June 30, 2017, staffing levels of the Office of Inspector General; provide the Small Business Administration with funding flexibility to accommodate increased demand for general business loans authorized under section 7(a) of the Small Business Act; permit the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make certain adjustments to the Section 8 housing choice voucher annual renewal funding allocations and administrative fee eligibility determinations for public housing agencies in an area for which the President declared a disaster in 2017 or 2018 under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act; compensate employees furloughed as a result of any lapse in appropriations which began on or about January 20, 2018; and require certain states, federal grantees, and furloughed state employees to be compensated or reimbursed for periods in which there is a lapse in FY2018 appropriations. (Sec. 2002) This section amends the Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 to strike a provision that extended certain authorities provided by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) through the duration of the CR. (The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 was signed into law on January 19, 2018.)
(Sec. 2003) This section specifies that the time covered by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 includes the period that began on or about January 20, 2018, during which there was a lapse in appropriations.
DIVISION C--HEALTHY KIDS ACT
Helping Ensure Access for Little Ones, Toddlers, and Hopeful Youth by Keeping Insurance Delivery Stable Act or the HEALTHY KIDS Act
(Sec. 101) This division extends funding through FY2023 for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Child Enrollment Contingency Fund.
In addition, the bill reauthorizes through FY2023:
the qualifying-states option (which allows states that provided coverage to now CHIP-eligible children prior to CHIP's enactment to continue to provide such coverage), and the express-lane eligibility option (which allows states to use eligibility findings from other public benefit programs to determine children's eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP). Beginning in FY2020, the division allows state child-health plans to adopt more restrictive eligibility standards with respect to children in families whose income exceeds 300% of the poverty line.
(Sec. 102) The division extends funding through FY2023 for the Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project and the Pediatric Quality Measures Program.
(Sec. 103) The division: (1) extends funding through FY2023 for specified outreach and enrollment grants, and (2) makes eligible for such grants "parent-mentors" who are trained to assist families with children who have no health-insurance coverage. Any nominal amount received by an individual for participation as a parent-mentor shall be disregarded for purposes of determining the individual's income-based eligibility for Medicaid.
(Sec. 104) Current law provides states with an enhanced Federal Matching Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for child-health assistance through FY2019. The division maintains the enhanced FMAP in FY2020, but halves the percentage-point increase.
(Sec. 105) The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shall make additional funding available to states for specified activities related to mechanized claims systems.
DIVISION D--SUSPENSION OF CERTAIN HEALTH-RELATED TAXES
(Sec. 4001) This section amends the Internal Revenue Code to extend for two years (2018 and 2019) the moratorium on the 2.3% excise tax on the sale of medical devices. (Under current law, the moratorium expired at the end of 2017.)
(Sec. 4002) This section amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to delay for two years the implementation of the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage (commonly referred to as the Cadillac tax). Under the bill, the tax will go into effect in 2022 instead of 2020, as required under current law.
(Sec. 4003) This section suspends for 2019 the annual fee imposed on certain health insurance providers based on market share.
DIVISION E--BUDGETARY EFFECTS
(Sec. 5001) This division exempts the budgetary effects of division C and each succeeding division of this bill from Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rules and certain budget scorekeeping guidelines.