Health Policy Report (1/13)

The Week in Review

Lawmakers kicked off the second session of the 116th Congress last week. In the lower chamber, the House passed a measure that seeks to address controversial “forever chemicals.” The legislation, among other things, would: (1) require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances (but not the entire class of PFAS chemicals); (2) establish a grant program to award funding to communities with water supplies that have been contaminated; and (3) promulgate national primary drinking water regulations for these chemicals under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Despite bipartisan support for action on these hazardous chemicals, the lower chamber’s bill faces a difficult path forward after the Trump administration issued a veto threat earlier last week. 

 

Today on the Hill: House to Pass Bill Addressing ‘Forever Chemicals’

House lawmakers have reconvened to resume consideration of a measure that seeks to address controversial “forever chemicals,” with final passage of the bill and outstanding amendments set for this morning. The legislation, among other things, would: (1) require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances but not the entire class of PFAS chemicals; (2) establish a grant program to award funding to communities with water supplies that have been contaminated; and (3) promulgate national primary drinking water regulations for these chemicals under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Despite bipartisan support for action on these hazardous chemicals, the lower chamber’s bill faces a difficult path forward after the Trump administration issued a veto threat earlier this week. 

 

Today on the Hill: House Seeks to Address ‘Forever Chemicals’

House lawmakers are set to begin consideration of a bill that seeks to address controversial “forever chemicals.” The measure would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate all perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances, while also setting up a grant program to award funding to communities with water supplies contaminated by the chemicals. Final passage of the PFAS legislation is expected tomorrow after lawmakers consider 22 amendments to the underlying bill today.  

 

Today on the Hill: House Eyes First Votes of 2020 Session

The House will convene today as lawmakers eye their first votes of the second session of the 116th Congress. The lower chamber will consider eight bills under suspension of the rules, including: (1) an Energy and Commerce bill that would require the President to develop a strategy to ensure the security of next general mobile telecommunications systems and infrastructure in the U.S.; (2) a Small Business measure that would require contract officers to consider relevant past performance and subcontractor experience of small businesses looking to compete for federal prime contracts; and (3) Foreign Affairs legislation that seeks to bolster U.S. leadership among international standard-setting bodies for mobile telecommunications systems and infrastructure. Additionally, the House will also consider the rule that will govern debate for a bill that seeks to address controversial “forever chemicals.”

 

Today on the Hill: Senate Finance Reviews USMCA Implementing Legislation

Senators on the Finance Committee are meeting to consider implementing legislation for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The bill is expected to clear the Committee with bipartisan support later this morning, allowing for a vote in the full chamber at some point this month. While Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) previously stated that the Senate will vote on the USMCA following the impeachment trial, the vote may be expedited if the House continues to hold on to the articles of impeachment.

 

This Week on the Hill: Lawmakers Kick Off 2020 Work Session

Lawmakers are set to begin the second session of the 116th Congress this week, with the Senate returning this afternoon and the House reconvening tomorrow. While Senators await next steps in the impeachment process, the upper chamber is expected to continue working through pending presidential nominations. The Senate will resume consideration of Jovita Carranza's nomination to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration later today.

 

Health Policy Report (1/6)

The Week Ahead

Lawmakers are set to begin the second session of the 116th Congress this week, with the Senate returning this afternoon and the House reconvening tomorrow. While Senators await next steps in the impeachment process, the upper chamber is expected to resume consideration of pending presidential nominations. The Senate will resume consideration of Jovita Carranza's nomination to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration later today.

 

Health Policy Report (12/23)

The Week in Review

Lawmakers completed legislative business for the first session of the 116th Congress following action on significant policy priorities to close out 2019. Late Friday, President Donald Trump signed two massive spending measures for fiscal year (FY) 2020 into law after both the national security and domestic policy "minibus" packages cleared Congress with strong bipartisan support earlier last week. The deals include several wide-ranging policy provisions pertaining to Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes, health extenders, terrorism risk insurance, and retirement reform. Negotiators also reached an agreement on several "tax extenders" that would renew certain tax provisions that expired at the beginning of 2018 and 2019, or that were set to expire on Jan. 1, 2020.

 

Next Week on the Hill: Lawmakers Adjourn for Holiday Recess

Lawmakers have completed legislative business for the first session of the 116th Congress following action on significant policy items such as government funding, tax extenders, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Prior to adjourning yesterday, Senators sent the fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding bills to President Donald Trump’s desk ahead of tonight’s government funding deadline, passing both the domestic policy minibus (71-23), as well as the national security measure (88-11) that includes appropriations bills for Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services and General Government, and Homeland Security. Earlier this morning, the president tweeted that he plans to sign the measures into law later today.

 

Today on the Hill: Senate Votes on Spending Packages Expected Thursday

Congress moved one step closer to avoiding a government shutdown yesterday after the House passed two large “minibus” spending packages. Both measures passed on a bipartisan basis, with the domestic policy package passing on 297-120 vote, while the national security minibus passed 280-138. Senators are expected to vote on the fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bills tomorrow in order to place them on President Donald Trump's desk ahead of Friday's government funding deadline. While White House officials have indicated that he will sign the measures into law, President Trump's position on the measures has yet to be explicitly stated.