Congressional Corner

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Nov. 20, 2017

Senate Finance Committee Passes Tax Measure

On Nov. 17, the Senate Finance Committee voted to advance the tax bill in the form of the chairman’s mark, which will be converted into legislative language. Debate is expected to begin during the week of Nov. 27. View the revised chairman's mark here. The individual mandate penalty repeal is included.

Insurance Market Stabilization Bill

The Senate is considering an option to combine the market stabilization bill crafted by Sen. Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Murry (D-WA) with the tax bill that could lower the impact of potential premium hikes from the proposed elimination of the insurance mandate. The market stabilization bill includes funding for the cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurers and flexibility to states on health plans. Sen. Collins is also asking for a reinsurance bill (S 1835). The content included in the final package remains in flux. ASTHO will continue to monitor.

Spending Caps Negotiations

Negotiations are ongoing to raise the spending caps by $182 billion in a two-year deal. If an agreement passes, FY18 spending bills could be packaged as an omnibus bill. The deadline to pass a spending bill is Dec. 8. Otherwise, a short-term continuing resolution is needed to keep the federal government funded using current levels.

Emergency Supplement Request

Last week, the Trump administration submitted a $44 billion emergency funding request for hurricane response efforts. Lawmakers are expressing concern that this is not enough funding for the response. Details of the request can be found here.

The request includes $252 million to the Department of Health and Human Services Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund account for hurricane response. Within the $252 million, CDC would receive $99.2 million, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response would receive $143.2 million, and FDA would receive $7.6 million. Amid some controversy, the White House included a list of potential offsets for the aid request. Neither of the previous two aid relief packages passed by Congress included offsets.

Work on this request is expected after Thanksgiving recess.