In addition to consideration of another seventeen suspension measures, the House’s work on this week’s set of health care bills starts today with consideration of a bill (H.R. 184) that would permanently repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) medical device tax. The tax has had a complex history since being included in the 2010 health care overhaul. It was collected for two years from 2013 to 2015, but Congress passed a two-year moratorium on the tax in the FY16 omnibus that was then extended for an additional two years as part of the health care agreement signed by Congress earlier this year. Among the permanent repeal bill’s 278 cosponsors are 45 Democrats and the measure is expected to pass with a sizeable bipartisan margin today. It’s future in the Senate remains unclear, but today’s passage could help spur momentum in the upper chamber.
After confirming Robert Wilkie as Secretary of Veterans Affairs yesterday on an 86-9 vote, the Senate will begin consideration today of its second appropriations package for the 2019 fiscal year. The Senate’s planned ‘minibus’ will add the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture appropriations bills to the Interior and Financial Services appropriations package (H.R. 6147) that was passed by the House last week. A substitute amendment and technical amendment are both pending to be added to the bill and no votes on the underlying bill are expected today.