This Week in Washington: Congress Passes Continuing Resolution until Dec. 16; House Leaves Until After Election; Senate to be Back Mid-October. 



Following the Senate’s vote on Sept. 29, a Continuing Resolution funding the government through Dec 16 passed the House on Sept. 30 by 230-201. Ten Republicans joined Democrats to pass the legislation to fund the government through Dec. 16. The Senate passed the legislation 72-25.

The CR was stalled in the Senate because of provisions related to speed up permitting for energy projects, which had been included because a vote on the provisions had been promised to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). After Sen. Manchin requested the provisions be removed so they did not stall the CR further, the bill gained bipartisan support.

Included in the CR were an additional $62 million for the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline’s prevention and behavioral health services, and an extension of enhanced Medicaid federal matching assistance program for Puerto Rico and other territories. Extensions were also included for the Medicare low-volume payment program, and the drug user fees for the Food and Drug Administration. 

Mental Health Matters Act Passes

In a mostly party line 220-205 vote, the House passed the Mental Health Matters Act, which addresses the “severe impact” COVID-19 had on students, educators and families by putting more mental health experts in schools and expanding that pipeline of school-based professionals. 

One Republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), voted for the legislation, which would provide grants to establish a pipeline for school-based mental health service professionals. The Department of Education would administer the grants.

Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.