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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Congress Passes Short-term Budget, Includes CARA Funding

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On Wednesday, both chambers of Congress approved a short-term continuing budget resolution (CR), level-funding the federal government through the November elections. While political observers widely expected the passage of a CR, this resolution pleasantly surprised many advocates by containing $37 million dollars in additional money to begin funding implementation of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The bill will provide $7 million of that allotment on October 1, which is the prorated amount of total funding over the life of the short-term resolution.

“We applaud the Congress for addressing this crisis,” said Becky Vaughn, Vice President of Addictions at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. “While this is clearly not enough to fully fund all of the authorized grants, it does provide operating dollars to the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs to begin implementation. The continuing resolution provides 10 weeks of funding to keep the government running through December 9th.”

With the government now funded through December 9, Congress will likely head home at week’s end and remain in recess until after the November elections. Advocates across the nation should be proud of their collective achievement in procuring funding for CARA. It is because of the hard work and advocacy of engaged constituents that such funding was deemed a matter of national importance and included in this spending package. The National Council will continue to notify advocates of opportunities to take action on funding for addiction services.