Congress Passes Fiscal Cliff Deal
On January 1, 2013, the House (by a vote of 257-167) and Senate (by a vote of 89-8) passed a deal that would prevent the American economy from going over the "fiscal cliff." The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) addresses a series of tax provisions and delays the sequestration (automatic cuts to discretionary spending) by two months to a new deadline of March 1, 2013. The bill reduces the total amount of sequestration by $24 billion over 9 years. In order to delay the sequester, the legislation lowers the spending caps outlined in the Budget Control Act in FY 2013 and FY 2014. Cuts will be made to both defense discretionary spending and non-defense discretionary spending. The legislation also addresses the "doc fix" (Medicare reimbursement for healthcare providers) through a one-year extension.
AACN does not have an official position on the entirety of this legislation. However, the association did advocate with the broader health and education communities to request that Congress find a balanced approach to sequestration. Since the bill delays these automatic cuts, we will continue to monitor the negotiations and keep you apprised of Congressional action that affect nursing and other health programs of interest to our members. AACN wishes you a happy new year and look forward to working with you on our advocacy efforts in 2013.