President Biden Signs Fiscal Responsibility Act
June 3, 2023
Today, President Biden signed the Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3746) into law, ending weeks of negotiation with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and preventing the U.S. from defaulting on the nation’s debt. The law suspends the debt ceiling, which allows the U.S. federal government to borrow what it needs to meet its fiscal obligations, for the next two years and cuts federal spending for that time.
The law “caps,” or puts a limit on, the total amount of money the federal government can spend for fiscal years 2024 (FY24) and 2025 (FY25) for defense programs and non-defense programs. Non-defense programs include federal medical research and all social safety net programs. Funding levels for these programs would be frozen because of the deal. The law also includes a provision that requires Congress to pass all twelve federal appropriations bills to fund the federal government for FY24. If Congress fails to pass these bills, the law will automatically apply a 1% cut below this year’s funding levels to all programs across the federal government. The Society will be working closely with Congressional leaders during The FY24 federal appropriations process and will advocate for Congress to fully fund programs that people affected by MS rely on to live their best lives. The Fiscal Responsibility Act also:
Applies stricter eligibility rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): the law expands the age range of those individuals who must meet work requirements to receive food stamps. This would mean that individuals 18-54 must work, be in school, or volunteer to receive food stamps. However, the bill also expands exemptions for veterans and those who are living unhoused/houseless.
Tightens work requirements for individuals in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program: the law alters the performance standards that states must meet for the program, moving the benchmark year from 2005 to 2015. This change is expected to lower the number of state grants slightly, and families receiving less than $35 a month would not count towards the state’s total grant number.
Restarts the student loan repayment program: the law requires that payments restart no later than August 30, 2023, and forbids the Administration from extending the pause in repayment.
Takes back COVID-19 pandemic funding: the law rescinds approximately $30 billion in unspent COVID-19 funding/public health funding and applies this funding to other federal programs.
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