Health Policy Report (1/10)

Capitol Hill Update

House lawmakers will kick off the second session of the 117th Congress today, followed by votes on a pair of legislative items throughout the balance of the week. In a “Dear Colleague” letter to Members late Friday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that lawmakers will take up a bipartisan bill that would allow local educational agencies participating in the Education Department’s Impact Aid Program to use the student-count or federal-property-valuation data from their fiscal year (FY) 2022 program applications for their FY 2023 applications. Proponents of the legislation — which passed the Senate by unanimous consent late last year — argue that it is needed to prevent schools from losing COVID-19 relief funds by providing flexibility to use pre-pandemic data to calculate needs. 

 

Health Policy Report: (12/20)

Capitol Hill Update

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) delivered a serious setback to President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda over the weekend after he announced that he will not support the Build Back Better Act (BBBA). The centrist West Virginia Senator — who was heavily engaged in negotiations with leadership on the overall size and scope of the $1.7 trillion social spending package — cited the national debt, ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and inflation metrics as key reasons why he came out against the legislation. The surprise announcement drew the ire from both moderate and progressive Democrats, as well as the White House, which issued a statement criticizing Sen. Manchin for walking back previous commitments to find common ground. Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that the administration plans to “find a way to move forward” in 2022, according to the remarks.

 

Health Policy Report (12/6)

Capitol Hill Update

After punting the government funding deadline to February 2022, Congress will meet this week and turn its attention to other year-end legislative priorities, starting with the federal debt ceiling. The Treasury Department has circled December 15 as its “X Date,” at which point it will no longer be able to utilize “extraordinary measures” to prevent a default. Absent GOP support on a measure to address the debt ceiling, Democrats will likely need to leverage the budget reconciliation process to raise the debt limit with a filibuster-proof legislative vehicle. Other notable items on lawmakers’ radar include addressing: (1) statutory “pay-as-you-go” (PAYGO) rules to avoid across-the-board spending cuts as a result of the American Rescue Plan (ARP); (2) a looming two percent spending cut for all Medicare services; (3) the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); (4) an expiring 3.75 percent increase to physician pay; and (5) several “tax extender” policies that are set to expire at year’s end.

 

Health Policy Report (11/22)

Capitol Hill Update

Congress has adjourned for the Thanksgiving district work period following House passage of the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) late last week. Lawmakers will return on Monday, November 29, when they will have less than five days to act on the looming December 3 government funding deadline. With Democrats and Republicans still very far apart on a topline funding agreement for fiscal year (FY) 2022, it is likely that another short-term continuing resolution (CR) will be needed to avert a shutdown. While the stopgap funding measure has yet to be formally unveiled, intel from Capitol Hill suggests that the legislation will likely extend the funding date toward the middle or end of December. In addition to appropriations, lawmakers will also need to tackle the December 15 debt ceiling “X date” and the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), among other key year-end priorities.

 

Health Policy Report (11/15)

Capitol Hill Update

Congress will resume legislative business this week as House Democrats anxiously await the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score on the $1.75 trillion reconciliation package. While analyses for certain parts of the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) — including the ScienceHomeland SecuritySmall Business, and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Titles — were released late last week, CBO cautioned lawmakers that a full score of the measure “will take longer.” As such, it remains to be seen whether the nonpartisan budget analysts will complete their work in time for a vote this week in the House, as centrist Democrats have expressed uneasiness about moving forward absent time to digest a full cost estimate.

 

Health Policy Report (11/8)

Capitol Hill Update

The House clinched a key pillar of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda late last week, sending the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to his desk for signature. The measure was buoyed with support from 13 House Republicans, while six progressive lawmakers — who have pushed for action on the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) — joined the remainder of the GOP conference in opposition. The President plans to sign the measure at a signing ceremony later this week. For additional details on the bipartisan infrastructure deal, click here to read TRP’s comprehensive analysis.

 

Health Policy Report (11/1)

Capitol Hill Update

Both chambers of Congress cleared another short-term funding measure for federal surface transportation programs as Democrats again failed to reach consensus on a path forward for President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. Despite renewed optimism that the bipartisan infrastructure deal would pass last week, Democratic lawmakers did not fully coalesce behind an updated framework for the President’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA) — a prerequisite for progressives’ support for the Senate-passed infrastructure deal. With a new surface transportation deadline of December 3, Democrats have effectively reset the “shot clock” on floor timing for both the Senate-passed infrastructure deal and reconciliation package — thus providing additional wiggle room for last-minute negotiations and tweaks. 

 

Health Policy Report (10/25)

Capitol Hill Update

Negotiations on floor action for both the bipartisan infrastructure deal and the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) are expected to continue throughout this week as Democratic leadership looks to broker a path forward on President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda. The White House is pushing an ambitious goal of floor consideration for both of these items at some point prior to the end of the week — especially given the looming October 31 deadline for federal surface transportation funding. While both moderates and progressives agree with leadership’s sentiment that they must act fast, it remains to be seen whether the two sides can resolve their differences ahead of this key deadline.

 

Health Policy Report (10/12)

Capitol Hill Update

House lawmakers will convene for legislative business today eyeing action on a short-term debt limit increase. Late last week, the Senate passed a short-term debt ceiling increase that would provide lawmakers with more time to strike a broader agreement. With less than a week left until the October 18 “X date,” Senate leadership brokered a bipartisan agreement that would hike the debt limit by $480 billion, thus punting the debt limit to December 3 and giving the Treasury Department more wiggle room to avert a default. Despite this brief flash of bipartisan cooperation, the two sides still remain far apart on a long-term solution on the debt ceiling. While the House will also be in for a series of Committee Work Days this week, the Senate has adjourned for a state work period and will resume voting on Monday, October 18.

 

Health Policy Report (10/4)

Capitol Hill Update

Democratic leadership has brokered a new deadline for action on both the bipartisan infrastructure deal and the fiscal year (FY) 2022 reconciliation package amid lingering disagreements between progressives and moderates. Progressive Members pushed back against a vote on the Senate-passed infrastructure legislation due to a lack of progress on reconciliation, derailing last week’s schedule and causing a temporary lapse in funding for federal surface transportation programs that were originally tacked onto the infrastructure bill. Lawmakers now have until Sunday, October 31 to iron out an agreement on a path forward for the Biden-endorsed infrastructure deal and the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) after Congress passed a monthlong funding measure to address the expired surface transportation funding.