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Federal Spending and Avoiding a Government Shut Down is a Must-Do Task for Congress This Week

News Article
Dec 1, 2021

Significant disagreements on broad funding allocations for defense and non-defense programs continue to stall congressional action on Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 spending bills. The partisan impasse will necessitate congressional passage of another Continuing Resolution (CR) to prevent a shutdown of the federal government when the current CR expires on Dec. 3.

The House is expected to introduce and pass a new CR this week that is likely to continue current FY 2021 funding levels through mid-January to provide more time for congressional leaders to reach an agreement on broad spending parameters.

The stalemate is particularly unfortunate given SGO’s success in securing an unprecedented $45 million for the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program in the House FY 2022 Defense Appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee this past summer. The Ovarian Cancer Research Program and other non-controversial federal programs that enjoy broad bipartisan support are all victims of the broader political dispute and funding for these programs will remain in limbo at current FY 2021 levels until the stalemate is resolved.

The CR that is expected to move through Congress and arrive at the President’s desk this week may be one of the last vehicles to move any other legislative initiatives through Congress this year. As such, SGO and other medical specialty societies are actively engaged in an advocacy campaign to get provisions of H.R. 6020, legislation introduced by Dr. Ami Bera (D-7th-CA) and Dr. Larry Bucshon (R-8th-IN), included in the CR legislative package. H.R. 6020 provides a one-year delay of the 3.75% cut to the Medicare physician fee schedule conversion factor through Dec. 31, 2022. Please contact your U.S. Representative to request co-sponsorship and enactment of H.R. 6020. To send a prewritten email to your Representative, please visit the SGO website.

In addition to appropriations, lawmakers also have on the to-do list the need to tackle the debt ceiling by Dec. 15 to extend the nation’s borrowing authority and the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), among other high priority items.

There is good news coming out of Congress this week. The Prevent HPV Cancers Act of 2021 (H.R. 1550) passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday. This legislation, endorsed by SGO, creates and funds a national public awareness campaign for HPV, gynecologic cancers, and other HPV-associated cancers, emphasizing the importance of HPV vaccines in preventing HPV and HPV-associated cancers. The public awareness campaign will be targeted to high-risk populations, communities with high rates of unvaccinated individuals, and rural communities. The legislation also provides grant funding for demonstration projects to test and evaluate evidence-based outreach and education strategies to increase awareness and knowledge of gynecologic cancers, especially about early warning signs, risk factors, prevention, screening, and treatment. H.R. 1550 will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

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