Health Policy Report (12/5)

Capitol Hill Update

Both chambers will return for votes today as negotiations on a year-end omnibus funding package continue. The “four corners” leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are expected to resume their deliberations over the course of the next few days in the hopes of striking a deal on topline funding figures for fiscal year (FY) 2023 — an important precursor to the development of a broader year-end spending package. If negotiators do not make significant progress over the course of the next two weeks, another continuing resolution (CR) will be needed to keep the government funded past Friday, December 16.


Health Policy Report (11/28)

Congress will return for votes this week, with the Senate in first later today followed by the House tomorrow. As the December 16 government funding deadline draws nearer, appropriators are pushing to reach an agreement on topline funding levels for fiscal year (FY) 2023 — a key precursor to a year-end spending package. With divided government on the horizon, lawmakers appear motivated to tie up loose ends on several bipartisan legislative efforts prior to the start of the 118th Congress. However, cooperation between Democratic and Republican leadership will be crucial, especially in the evenly divided Senate. Any extraneous policy riders that imperil the omnibus’s chances of reaching 60 votes will likely fall by the wayside to ensure that the government remains funded past the December 16 deadline.  


Health Policy Report (10/31)

Capitol Hill Update

Both chambers of Congress will return to Washington after the November 8 midterm elections. The next votes in the House and Senate are scheduled to occur during the week of November 14.


Health Policy Report (10/3)

Capitol Hill Update

President Joe Biden signed a two-month continuing resolution (CR) (text; summary) late last week after congressional leadership struck a deal to keep the government funded until December 16. Barring a sudden and unforeseen change in the schedule, final passage of the CR will be the final vote either chamber takes until after the November midterm elections. Senators were originally slated to come in for a nine-day legislative work period to tackle the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), but instead will remain in their respective states during the final weeks of the 2022 campaign. Regardless of who comes out on top on November 8, lawmakers will be faced with a hectic “lame duck” work period to close out the 117th Congress, with a particular focus on trying to strike an omnibus spending package for FY 2023 that could potentially carry a host of health policy priorities before the start of the new Congress.


Health Policy Report (9/19)

House and Senate lawmakers will resume legislative business today as negotiations on a continuing resolution (CR) continue. In particular, discussions at the leadership level are likely to focus on reaching agreements on items that could potentially be added onto the stopgap, including energy permitting reforms and reauthorization of several user fee agreements at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both of these proposals will require bipartisan cooperation to ensure that the CR can pass the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority — a factor that could prolong the talks into the final days leading up to the September 30 deadline. Meanwhile, members of the House Freedom Caucus have coalesced behind a strategy spearheaded by three GOP senators — including Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) — in opposing a CR through mid-December. Instead, the Republican lawmakers have been pushing for a “clean” funding bill that maintains current federal spending levels until the new Congress begins in 2023


Health Policy Report (9/12)

House lawmakers will return tomorrow to kick off the September work period. According to a “Dear Colleague” letter from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), leadership could file a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government into mid-December for a vote prior to the end of the week. However, disagreements over policy riders — including the White House’s $47.1 billion supplemental funding request and energy permitting reforms — could shift the timing on this vote. In addition to the stopgap funding bill, lawmakers are slated to consider three bills out of the Oversight and Reform Committee that pertain to: (1) improving federal whistleblower protections (H.R. 2988); (2) modifying certain census bureau authorities to promote accuracy and fairness (H.R. 8326); and (3) prohibiting executive agency positions in the competitive service from being placed in the excepted service (H.R. 302). In the upper chamber, senators will be in session this afternoon to resume consideration of pending judicial nominations.


Health Policy Report (8/29)

Both chambers are recessed to allow for district work and will return to Capitol Hill in September. The Senate returns first on Tuesday, September 6, followed by the House on Tuesday, September 13.


Health Policy Report (8/15)

Congress is set to break for the balance of the month and will return to action in September with a lengthy legislative to-do list. This includes, among other things: (1) government funding and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2023; (2) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee agreements; and (3) the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), along with several other programs that are set to expire on September 30. Additionally, Democratic lawmakers will be scrambling to finalize other last-minute legislative wins — including permitting reform, tax extenders, retirement savings, water resources development projects, and more — before the conclusion of the 117th Congress.


Health Policy Report (8/8)

Senate Democrats clinched final passage of their long-sought reconciliation bill over the weekend, sending the measure to the House for a final vote later this week. Democratic leadership reached a breakthrough late last week after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) offered a series of tweaks to tax and climate policies within the underlying bill to appease some concerns from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who was the last remaining holdout on the Inflation Reduction Act. Additionally, the Senate Parliamentarian’s “Byrd bath” rulings — along with the marathon “vote-a-rama” amendment process — resulted in a pair of key changes to the drug pricing policies within the filibuster-proof measure, including: (1) the removal of a provision that would have required drug companies to provide rebates if the cost of their products sold to private insurers exceed inflation; and (2) nixing a proposed price cap for insulin in the private marketplace.