Critical Week in Congress.
- CONTINUING RESOLUTION STILL MOVING FORWARD. Over the weekend, the political world significantly changed with the passing of the icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There are significant political and long-term judicial implications for who fills her seat and when it is filled. However, one thing in Congress still is moving forward relatively on track, the continuing resolution (CR). Congress only has a few working days left to fund the government past September 30. As of this moment, there remains no voiced threat to the CR. In fact, we are likely to see the CR text early this week. One question that hangs in the balance is how long the CR will be, but reporting suggests that the CR would extend funding until December 11, during the lame duck session.
- What also hangs in the balance is whether any policies are attached to the CR. It is increasingly likely that it will be a “clean” extension with some potential for a few policies to be added on. We watch for is how the extenders are addressed or not addressed in the CR. The healthcare extenders are the Medicare, Medicaid, and public health programs that are up for regular reauthorization or funding. They include, but are not limited to, funding for community health centers, the disproportionate share hospital payment reduction delay, and extension of the money follows the person program. The healthcare extenders are currently set to expire November 30, 2020. An extension for these policies may have to wait until after the election.
- It does not appear that the next COVID-19 relief package will be attached to the CR. It is unlikely that given the current political environment and implications of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing that leadership in the House, Senate and White House will be able to reach consensus on any package. Those waiting on the COVID-19 package will likely have to wait until after the election and potentially even after the new year to see the next round of relief.
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