Health Policy Report (2/22)

Congress will resume legislative business this week as lawmakers look to check off the Biden administration’s key first 100-day priorities. The Senate will convene first this afternoon and is expected to resume consideration of pending presidential nominees for the balance of the week. Nominations that will come up for a vote include Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s nomination to be Ambassador to the United Nations and Tom Vilsack’s nomination to be Secretary of Agriculture. Senate Committees are also scheduled to hold confirmation hearings for Biden cabinet nominees this week, including California Attorney General and former congressman Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) to be Interior Secretary, and Katherine Tai to be United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador.

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Financial Services Report (2/22)

After a pseduo-recess week Congress returns to really start cranking on moving the Biden administration’s key first 100 day priorities. For the Senate, this means moving nominations, starting with Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s nomination to be Ambassador to the United Nations, as well as Tom Vilsack’s nomination to be Secretary of Agriculture, and potentially Gina Raimondo to be Commerce Secretary if Ted Cruz relents.

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Health Policy Report (2/16)

House Committees wrapped up their markups of reconciliation instructions on the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation last week as Democratic lawmakers look to get the measure onto the floor for a vote. Members on the House Budget Committee will meet this week to combine all of the reconciliation instructions into the final $1.9 trillion virus relief bill, with floor consideration likely to occur the following week of February 22. A formal notice for the Budget panel’s forthcoming meeting has yet to be posted. 

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Financial Services Report (2/15)

With all of the House Committees having finished their mark-up of their respective portions of the COVID-19 relief bill, the action will turn to the Budget committee which will compile all of these bills into one massive piece of legislation that the House will take up the week of the 22nd.

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Financial Services Report (2/8)

While the Democrats choose to move a partisan COVID-19 relief bill by using the reconciliation process for this bill, it remains to be seen whether the remainder of the legislation that will be considered on the floor of the Senate this congress will take the same path. While Democrats in the Senate could attempt to move an agenda on their narrow margin of a majority, the fact remains that it only takes ten Republicans, less than 1/3 of the Caucus, to move something in a bipartisan manner. And of course, getting this bipartisan effort in the Senate would also ensure a more moderated result from whatever the House passed. Whether this framework ultimately prevails – or if progressives forces continue to strive for the perfect over the good – will be a determining factor in the functionality of Congress, and President Biden’s purported goal of unifying the country.

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Health Policy Report (2/8)

Capitol Hill Update

Congress has formally kicked off the budget reconciliation process for additional virus relief legislation, passing a resolution that instructs 25 committees across both chambers to begin drafting the bill. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated that House committees will mark up the $1.9 trillion relief package next week, with the goal of getting it on the floor for consideration by the week of February 15. While the lower chamber focuses on efforts to move the relief package, Senators will be engaged in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, which will begin in earnest on Tuesday.

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Health Policy Report: (2/1)

Capitol Hill Update

Congressional Democrats are preparing to move forward with a budget resolution this week that would allow the next COVID-19 relief package to clear the Senate with a simple majority. The House plans to introduce its resolution today, and is expected to instruct 13 committees to develop pieces of the $1.9 trillion relief legislation. The Senate will also follow suit early in the week as Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plans to rollout an identical resolution that would provide instructions for 11 committees. Once the Senate’s resolution has been formally introduced, senators will go through the “vote-a-rama” process for amendments, which provides up to 50 hours of debate equally divided among both parties.

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