Congressional Corner

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Feb. 1, 2018

Federal Budget Update

The current continuing resolution (CR) expires on Feb. 8 and a spending deal remains elusive. Congressional approval of another short-term CR is very likely. However, the possibility of another government shutdown cannot be ruled out. According to media reports, Congress is discussing the possibility of extending the next CR through March 23. ASTHO will continue to monitor the situation and provide timely updates.

CDC Director Resigns

On Jan. 31, HHS Secretary Alex Azar accepted the resignation of CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald. HHS announced that Anne Schuchat will serve as acting director. ASTHO issued a statement in response to the announcement.

HHS Accomplishments

HHS released a report highlighting its 2017 accomplishments and outlining work on the opioid crisis, generic drug approvals, and other healthcare initiatives.

Senate Request to the Government Accountability Office

Recently, 19 senators sent a letter requesting that the Government Accountability Office investigate actions taken by the Administration under its public health emergency declaration for the opioid crisis. The senators note that, “We have grown increasingly concerned by reports that the President has done little to make sure of his public health emergency declaration, leaving states and local communities without the resources they need to fight the opioid epidemic.”

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

On Feb. 8, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. to examine the opioid crisis, focusing on the impact on children and families.