Congressional Corner

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July 27, 2017

Updated House LHHS Bill Analysis 
ASTHO updated its summary of the FY18 House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill, which passed the full appropriations committee last week. The new summary details the Manager’s Amendment, which was adopted, and corrects an error related to Lyme disease funding. A link to the summary can be found here.

For more information, please refer to the legislative text and committee report.

Appropriations Update 
The House of Representatives continues work on developing a minibus—a package of four spending bills for FY18 that includes funding for the legislative branch, military construction and veteran’s affairs, defense, as well as energy and water. The total cost of the package is $790 billion. It is unclear when this package will reach the floor for a vote. As a reminder, these proposed funding levels exceed funding caps set by the Budget Control Act.

House Budget Resolution Update 
A House budget resolution is not expected to reach the floor before August recess. House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black is hopeful that the numbers set in the House budget resolution will match the levels included in the House appropriations bills.

Senate Nomination Hearing for Health Positions 
On Aug. 1, at 2:30 p.m. EDT, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a full committee hearing on the nomination of several candidates for high-profile health positions. The nominees include: Lance Robertson, assistant secretary for aging; Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health; Robert Kadlec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response; Elinore F. McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use; and Jerome Adams, surgeon general of the Public Health Service.

Senate Health Reform Status 
On Wednesday, by a vote of 51-50, the U.S. Senate proceeded to begin debate on healthcare reform. A series of votes have since taken place, including a vote on a modified version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which failed by a 43-57 vote. A bill offering repeal with no replacement failed by a vote of 45-55. It is expected that tonight and Friday morning there will be a vote-a-rama—that is, a marathon session in which senators offer as many amendments as they’d like. According to press reports, a “skinny” ACA repeal bill is expected to be introduced. However, the text has not yet been released. This bill may fully or partially defund the Prevention and Public Health Fund, repeal the individual and employer mandate, and eliminate Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood.

A score from the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the “skinny” repeal bill would result in 16 million more uninsured Americans by 2026. The report can be found here.