On Thursday, the Senate passed a $1.012 trillion spending bill, following passage of the same in the House the day earlier. Both houses passed it with a wide margin. On Friday, President Obama singed the bill into law. The total amount is slightly less than the last budget that passed in 2009, but is higher than the now-familiar sequester levels the country has grappled with since early 2013. In addition to the $1.012 base spending level, the budget includes $6.55 billion in disaster/emergency funding and $91.9 billion in overseas contingency operations funding.
Funding for operations and management provided for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is $3.7 billion, which is the same level established by the sequester. No additional funds have been allocated for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Rather, the Prevention and Public Health Fund had its funding cut by $1 billion, and an additional $10 million was cut from the Independent Payment Advisory Board.
With the budget now signed into law, there is no immediate danger of another government shutdown. However, Washington insiders predict that 2014 will be another year where few bills pass through Congress, and is likely to bring more political gridlock. The mid-term elections in November, coupled with a spate of long-serving Congressmen, may bring a shift in the balance of power in the two houses. Until then, expect more business as usual inside the beltway.