The House Is in Recess, Calendar Crunch Looms.
The Calendar Creates a Tight Window to Advance Key Policy Priorities. The House is in recess this week, but when they return on November 12, there will be little time to work through a laundry list of health care priorities that includes: advancing H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act; addressing health care extenders; and funding the government. House Democrats moved lightning fast to advance H.R. 3, slowing down only to give the Congressional Budget Office time to complete a score of the bill. This gives Democrats more time to tout their efforts to expand vision, hearing, and dental benefits in the Medicare program. After returning from their recess, House Democrats will work to have a vote on H.R. 3 by the end of the week. So they clearly need to be ready to go after they return from recess.
The week of November 18 will be devoted to funding the government to prevent a government shutdown. The last continuing resolution (CR) along with the health care extenders are set to expire on November 21, meaning Congress needs to address both of those priorities before they head into the Thanksgiving recess. To address this, there could be a short-term CR that extends government funding to allow more time to work through remaining issues. However, what remains unclear is: 1) how long a CR will be; 2) if health care extenders will also be extended through the same time periods as the CR; 3) if the committees of jurisdiction are able to reach a long term resolution on health care extenders, could that move with a CR; and 4) if the health care extenders are temporarily extended through a CR, how will Congress pay for the extension?
That’s a lot of questions to answer in a very short period of time. Additionally, we would be remiss to forget that surprise billing and the consensus drug pricing policies (i.e., the CREATES Act) save money. Could these policies pop up last minute to pay for the extenders?
And by the way, there is the impeachment inquiry that casts a shadow over all of the health care priorities and raises the political temperature significantly. Never a dull moment in D.C. Stay tuned, and we will keep you posted along the way.
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