Health Policy Report (10/21)

The Week in Review

Congress reconvened last week following the two-week Columbus Day district work period. Despite resetting the government funding deadline to provide more time for negotiations, House and Senate appropriators indicated that fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending talks remain deadlocked. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) stated last week that lawmakers may need to take up another stopgap funding measure to keep the government funded through the remainder of the year if an agreement isn’t reached before the Nov. 21 deadline. While Chairman Shelby and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) have both expressed the desire to move spending bills through regular order, “poison pill” issues such as border security and family planning policies could stymie the appropriations process for the foreseeable future.

 

Financial Services Report (10/21)

Another busy week in Congress will be capped by the testimony of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. Based on the hearing memo, Zuckerberg can expect to be grilled on Libra, Housing, Data Privacy and Diversity issues. And that's just from the Democrats.
 
Data, and its role in financial services will also be the focus of two hearings at the Senate Banking Committee, as they examine both the Consolidated Audit Trail as well as data rights.
 
The full Senate may take up the first spending bill soon, as Leader McConnell started the process to move two different minibuses last week, while the House is focused on Russia and election security this week.

 

Today on the Hill: House Begins Work on SEC Measures

Following the passage (354-60) of a resolution aimed at rebuking President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria, House lawmakers are readying action on a pair of measures dealing with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosures. For today, the lower chamber will take up legislation that would mandate the SEC to conduct investor testing and surveys when developing regulations about disclosures for retail investors. The second bill — which would require the disclosure of the total number of domestic and foreign employees of certain public companies — is expected to be considered tomorrow to close out the week.

 

Today on the Hill: Shelby Indicates Spending Negotiations Remain Sluggish

Despite resetting the government funding deadline to provide more time for negotiations, House and Senate appropriators have indicated that fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending talks remain deadlocked. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) stated yesterday that lawmakers may need to take up another stopgap funding measure to keep the government funded through the remainder of the year if an agreement isn’t reached before the Nov. 21 deadline. While Chairman Shelby and House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) have both expressed the desire to move spending bills through regular order, “poison pill” issues such as border security and family planning policies could stymie the appropriations process for the foreseeable future.

 

This Week on the Hill: Lawmakers Return As End-of-Year Legislative Sprint Looms

Congress returns to action today as lawmakers gear up for a three-week work session. With 28 legislative days left on the 2019 congressional calendar, House and Senate appropriators are expected to continue negotiations on subcommittee allocations for each of the 12 fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending measures. If they reach an agreement, they could begin “pre conferencing” the 12 fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bills ahead of the Senate’s votes on the floor. However, disagreements over the Trump administration’s border security and family planning policies — as well as the recent developments on impeachment — could complicate matters for FY 2020 government funding bills.

 

Health Policy Report (10/15)

The Week Ahead

Congress returns to action today as lawmakers gear up for a three-week legislative work session. Over the course of these next three weeks, House and Senate appropriators are expected to continue negotiations on subcommittee allocations for each of the 12 fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending measures. If they reach an agreement, they could begin “pre conferencing” the 12 fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bills ahead of the Senate’s votes on the floor. However, disagreements over the Trump administration’s border security and family planning policies — as well as the recent developments on impeachment — could complicate matters for FY 2020 government funding bills.

 

Health Policy Report (10/7)

President Trump Announces Executive Order to Modernize Medicare

Last Thursday, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to advance a series of changes to protect and strengthen the Medicare program. These changes focus on providing more health plan options for Medicare beneficiaries, an opportunity for enhanced benefits, and an opportunity for beneficiaries to share more directly in Medicare program savings. During his announcement at a Florida retirement community, President Trump spoke at length about his administration’s health care efforts and goals for making “Medicare even better.” HHS Secretary Alex Azar noted that the executive order “reflects importance on protecting what works in our system and fixing what is broken,” and will enable providers to practice “at the top of their licensure.”

 

This Week on the Hill: Funding Bill Signed as Lawmakers Break for Two-Week Recess

Late last Friday, President Donald Trump signed the seven-week continuing resolution (CR) (HR 4378) that Senate lawmakers cleared last week prior to breaking for the Columbus Day district work period. The measure punts the impending government funding deadline until Nov. 21 and extends key expiring authorizations — including the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), and a slate of expiring health care programs.

 

Health Policy Report (9/30)

The Week in Review

After the Senate cleared (81-16) the House-passed continuing resolution, President Donald Trump signed the stopgap funding bill into law ahead of the Sept. 30 government funding deadline to temporarily avert a shutdown. The CR pushes the funding deadline to Nov. 21 while also ensuring that numerous key policy riders — including extensions for several expiring health care programs, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Export-Import Bank — are addressed prior to the deadline. In other notable FY 2020 spending news, the Senate Appropriations Committee cleared funding bills for: (1) Interior-Environment; (2) State-Foreign Operations; (3) Commerce-Science-Justice; (4) Homeland Security; and (5) Legislative Branch during a markup last week.

 

Financial Services Report (9/30)

The House and Senate are in recess for the next two weeks. When they return they will need to finalize the spending bills before the November 21st deadline. There are also rumors about an aggressive hearing schedule in the House Financial Services Committee, including the potential for CFPB Director Kranniger to appear as part of her semi-annually required attendance. And of course, there is possibility that all of it is eclipsed by impeachment proceedings.