Health Policy Report (5/31)

Capitol Hill Update

Senate Democrats are reviving their push to clinch a filibuster-proof legislative package for various elements of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. According to intel from Capitol Hill, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been recently engaged in talks with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) over a package of climate, energy, health, and deficit reduction provisions that could potentially clear the upper chamber by a party-line vote ahead of November’s midterm election. Notable policies that have been floated in these discussions include: (1) clean energy tax credits; (2) extending the Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits; (3) prescription drug pricing policies contained in the House-passed Build Back Better (BBB) Act (H.R. 5376); and (4) additional tax provisions, including money for IRS enforcement and a 15 percent domestic minimum rate. In total, this latest BBB iteration could include close to $800 billion in new spending, coupled with $1.4 trillion in funding offsets.

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Health Policy Report (5/23)

Capitol Hill Update

The Senate will reconvene for legislative business on Tuesday to close out the May work period. Absent a breakthrough deal on COVID-related funding packages for health care and small businesses, it is likely that senators will primarily focus on confirming pending Biden administration nominees for the balance of the week. The Small Business COVID Relief Act (S. 4008) — which would provide roughly $48 billion toward additional relief aid for restaurants and other small business industries that have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — failed to meet the 60-vote threshold to advance in the evenly-divided chamber late last week. While the supplemental funding package for Ukraine was able to clear with strong bipartisan support, funding measures to support health-related pandemic needs and small businesses have struggled to gain traction in the 50-50 Senate. 

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Health Policy Report (5/16)

Capitol Hill Update

Congress will convene for legislative business this week as lawmakers look to clear pending supplemental appropriations bills, starting with the Bipartisan Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act (textsummary). Late last week, the Senate was unable to reach a “unanimous consent” agreement for expedited passage after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked the $40 billion supplemental funding bill over disagreements on the amendment process. Specifically. Sen. Paul is pushing for a vote on a provision that would create a special Inspector General to oversee the Ukraine spend.. While the funding bill is expected to pass with bipartisan support through “regular order,” the condensed floor schedule could complicate the timing for consideration of a separate funding package to support restaurants and other adversely impacted small business industries.

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Health Policy Report (5/9)

Capitol Hill Update

Both chambers of Congress will resume legislative business this week as leadership looks to break the logjam on a pair of supplemental appropriations requests. While lawmakers have a bipartisan agreement to move as much as $33 billion for Ukrainian military and humanitarian assistance, Democrats and Republicans are still searching for common ground on the $10 billion Bipartisan COVID Supplemental Appropriations Act. Senate Republicans have remained steadfast in their position that the two requests should be addressed separately as opposed to combining the two within the same package — the preferred strategy of Democratic leadership. The two sides will also need to navigate disagreements pertaining to the Biden administration’s rollback of the Title 42 public health directive at the U.S.-Mexico border before the pandemic relief funding can pass the 50-50 Senate.

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Health Policy Report (5/2)

Capitol Hill Update

The Senate will return this afternoon to kick off a busy week of legislative business, headlined by floor action on the Bipartisan Innovation Act conference committee. Starting tomorrow, senators will consider 28 “motions to instruct” (summary) — procedural votes that are nonbinding but can be politically tricky depending on the scope of the particular issue — prior to formally entering the conference negotiation with dozens of lawmakers in both chambers.  Additionally, the Senate is slated to consider the nominations of Joshua Frost to be an Assistant Secretary of Treasury and Elizabeth de Leon Bhargava to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Meanwhile, House lawmakers have adjourned for a weeklong district work period and will return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, May 10.

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