McDermottPlus Healthcare Preview: Week of September 20

Word of the Week = Uncertainty.

Congress Needs to Fund the Government by September 30th. To avoid a government shutdown, Congress must pass and the President must sign some form of government funding bill (expected through a continuing resolution (CR)), prior to the September 30 fiscal year deadline. Otherwise, a government shutdown begins October 1. A CR could come in a variety of forms: 1) as a clean CR with nothing else attached, 2) a CR with debt limit attached, 3) CR, debt limit, and disaster relief and assistance for the Afghanistan withdrawal, or 4) CR, debt limit, disaster relief/Afghanistan, and variety of other policies, including sequester relief. This week we expect that the CR will come together, and we watch for what policies get attached to the CR and how Republicans react to the CR.

Countdown to Bipartisan Infrastructure? We are one week from September 27th, the compromise date that Speaker Pelosi agreed to with moderate Democrats to vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package. It is unclear if that vote will happen next week due to the uncertain status of the reconciliation package which was supposed to be passed in tandem with that bill. The timing of the vote on the bipartisan package is a key component of the path to being able to pass reconciliation in the House by bringing together the moderate and progressive Democrats.

Reconciliation on Pause? At this point, it seems impossible that a House vote on reconciliation will happen by September 27th. Although the Committees completed markups their respective portions of the package last week, there remain significant disagreements among Democrats on what should and should not be included. There are Democrats in the House and Senate with concerns regarding the prescription drug reforms, Democrats in the House want to address the SALT tax, and many more policies in play, including the length of particular provisions. The House Budget Committee will work to develop a combined package, while Democrat leadership will work to find compromise and balance among the various competing priorities. So although there is a lot of uncertainty on the next steps of reconciliation, we are likely looking into October for next steps.

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