WASHINGTON BUREAU -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has asked his chief of staff, David Krone, to spend the "state work period" off week talking to staffers in the office of House Speaker John Boehner about developing a long-term funding bill.
Krone is a branding expert who has been an executive at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Washington, and a senior vice president at Comcast Corp., Philadelphia.
Federal fiscal year 2012 starts Oct. 1, but the government is stll operating under an appropriations bill that extends the fiscal year 2010 budget. The extension will run out March 4.
The House set the stage for a possible government shutdown Saturday by passing H.R. 1, a continuing resolution with many amendments that will please opponents of the Affordable Care Act - the federal legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) - but are likely to run into turbulence in the Senate, which has a Democratic majority. If Republicans can get a continuing resolution with anti-PPACA amendments to their liking through the Senate, President Obama seems likely to veto it.
Some PPACA-related amendments H.R. 1 include:
- A ban on use of funds in the bill from being used to implement the PPACA individual health insurance ownership mandate. (Rep. JoAnn Emerson, R-Mo.)
- A ban on use of bill funds to pay salaries at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight - the new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency that is supposed to implement PPACA. (Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas)
- A ban on paying government officials to issue the regulations needed to implement the "essential benefits" provisions in PPACA Section 1302. (Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-Pa.)
- A ban on funding a new PPACA independent payment advisory board that is supposed to weigh in on Medicare payment rules. (Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-N.Y.)
This week, while Congress is off, Reid, D-Nev., plans to supplement Krone's work by introducing a measure that would extend the current operations of the government for 30 days beyond March 4. He says the measure would reflect $41 billion in cuts from President Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget request. Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed to accept that funding level in December 2010, Reid says.