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Capitol Correspondence - 03.15.22

Congress Passes Omnibus Spending Bill, Omits COVID-19 Relief Funding

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Last week Congress passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package for Fiscal Year 2022. However, the final bill was passed without the inclusion of $15 billion in COVID-19 relief funds, which was stripped out in the U.S. House of Representatives after more than a dozen House Democrats raised concerns that proposed offsets for the funds would have come out of their states’ pandemic funds. The FY 2022 omnibus bill includes $200 million for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program and extends the enhanced FMAP rate for Puerto Rico and the territories until December 31, 2022. The measure also includes nearly $14 billion in aid for Ukraine and other United States allies in Eastern Europe.

Following the House’s passage, the U.S. Senate voted 68-31 to pass the omnibus bill. The Senate also voted to pass a temporary stop-gap measure that would continue funding the government past the March 11 deadline and give President Biden until Tuesday to sign the omnibus bill into law.

The House plans to take up the $15 billion for COVID-19 relief funding in a separate bill this week, with negotiations continuing over alterative pay-for mechanisms for the funding. However, it is unclear whether the House bill will have enough votes in the Senate to pass.