Congressional Corner

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April 13, 2017

This week in Washington, D.C., the White House released a memorandum addressed to the heads of executive departments and agencies. This memo, entitled “Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce,” aims to “make government lean, accountable, and more efficient.” The document is framed as part of a larger White House effort to freeze federal hiring and reorganize the executive branch as well as the president’s budget blueprint. The memo requires all agencies to achieve workforce reductions in FY18, creates a plan to maximize employee performance, and includes longer-term workforce reductions. These longer-term reductions are expected to be a part of President Trump’s FY19 budget request, which will be delivered to Congress in early 2018. The memo fulfills the requirement to prepare a long-term plan for agency workforce reductions and therefore lifts the federal government hiring freeze.

On April 6, before recess, Rep. Gary Palmer and Rep. David Schweikert submitted a new amendment to the American Health Care Act. The amendment would establish a federal “invisible risk sharing program” that would appropriate $15 billion from 2018-2026, with the intention of lowering premiums in the individual market. It is unclear whether this amendment would increase support for the American Health Care Act. President Trump recently renewed his effort to pass healthcare reform before embarking on tax reform. ASTHO will continue to monitor this bill. 

Finally, the House of Representatives returns on April 25, with four legislative days before the current continuing resolution for FY17 expires. While it is uncertain what will happen, ASTHO will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.