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Nikki Hurt

Nikki Hurt is a manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.

A bipartisan infrastructure plan is unlikely to pass the Senate by July. Democrats are likely to explore using budget reconciliation, but a recent parliamentarian ruling indicates they might be unable to attempt the process using the FY 2021 budget resolution.

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Republicans offer a $928 billion counterproposal to President Joe Biden's $1.7 trillion infrastructure package. Leaders of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and House Committee on Energy and Commerce seek information on developing a public health insurance option.

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The Senate confirmed Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Several Senate committees last week examined issues of importance to essential hospitals, including telehealth, hospital consolidation, and the medical supply chain.

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The Senate voted to advance the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator; a full Senate vote could take place this week. America's Essential Hospitals hosted a virtual Capitol Hill briefing in recognition of the association's 40th anniversary.

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President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with House and Senate lawmakers this week to discuss a bipartisan path forward on infrastructure legislation ahead of his fiscal year 2022 budget proposal. The Senate is expected to confirm Andrea Joan Palm as deputy secretary of health and human services.

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President Biden's address to Congress focused on his proposals to rebuild and revamp the nation's infrastructure, including the American Families Plan.

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Senate Republicans release a $568 billion infrastructure framework to kickstart negotiations. House Democrats and Republicans reintroduce opposing prescription drug pricing bills. A CMS decision delays advancement of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure's nomination for CMS administrator.

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The president met with a group of bipartisan lawmakers to discuss his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal; other lawmakers have expressed interest in a less costly, more targeted package. The Senate Committee on Finance is expected to advance two Biden administration nominees.

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The House will vote as early as tonight to extend the moratorium on the 2 percent Medicare sequester cut; CMS has held provider claims in anticipation of this bill passing. Meanwhile, lawmakers continue conversations on infrastructure funding and workplace violence prevention.

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The Senate advanced legislation extending the moratorium on a 2 percent Medicare sequester cut; however, it is unlikely the House will take up the measure before April 1, when the cut is scheduled to take effect. The association submitted a letter of support for the LIFT America Act.

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The House voted to extend the moratorium on a 2 percent Medicare sequester cut, but the bill lacks support from Senate Republicans. The Senate confirms Xavier Becerra. A reintroduced bipartisan bill would ensure 340B hospitals can maintain program eligibility while responding to COVID-19.

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The House this week will vote on legislation to extend the moratorium on a 2 percent Medicare sequester cut. House Democrats unveil an infrastructure package that prioritizes funding for construction and modernization activities to bolster public health preparedness and cyberattack prevention.

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With a 50–50 party split in the Senate, Democrats must remain united and rely on Vice President Kamala Harris' vote to confirm the nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of health and human services.

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The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill would ensure essential hospitals receive the same level of Medicaid DSH payments as they would have absent the pandemic. Xavier Becerra's nomination as secretary of health and human services is expected to reach the Senate floor as early as next week.

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Congress races to pass COVID-19 relief through the budget reconciliation process before enhanced unemployment benefits expire March 14. Senate committees hold confirmation hearings for Xavier Becerra as secretary of health and human services.

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The House is expected to vote on a compiled reconciliation bill the week of Feb. 22. The Senate for the second time has acquitted former President Donald Trump of impeachment charges. House members are circulating a bipartisan letter calling for protections to the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

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House and Senate committees are working on the details of COVID-19 relief under the budget reconciliation process. The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is underway; members of both parties have indicated they prefer a short and swift trial.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer unveiled a joint budget resolution to advance President Biden's COVID-19 relief priorities through budget reconciliation. Senate leaders have yet to agree on an organizing resolution finalizing operations for the 117th Congress.

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The second Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is expected to begin in early February, with Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) presiding. House committees with jurisdiction over health care issues add new members to their rosters.

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Following the uprising at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers completed their constitutional duty and certified Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris. Meanwhile, Democrats swept special elections in Georgia, giving the party 50 Senate seats.

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In the first week of the new Congress, lawmakers will focus on certification of Electoral College votes and a Georgia special election that will determine which party controls the Senate. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was re-elected speaker of the House.

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Congress' first actions in the new year include deciding how to conduct business with the continuing COVID-19 threat and certifying the Electoral College votes for U.S. president. In the House, lawmakers will vote to select a speaker.

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The continuing resolution delays until Dec. 19 a scheduled $4 billion cut to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments. Meanwhile, lawmakers introduce a new, two-part $908 billion legislative proposal for COVID-19 relief, as well as a deal on legislation regarding surprise medical bills.

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Congress indicates plans to pursue a one-week continuing resolution to keep the government funded at current levels through Dec. 18. A group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced a framework for a $908 billion COVID-19 relief deal, reinvigorating negotiations between Republicans and Democrats.

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Without congressional action, the government on Dec. 12 will enter a shutdown and $4 billion will be cut from Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments. Meanwhile, negotiations are deadlocked on additional COVID-19 relief.

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In the lame-duck session, Congress will focus on stopping a Medicaid DSH funding cut, averting a government shutdown, and providing COVID-19 relief. The House passed bipartisan bills to enhance research on minority health disparities, address the opioid crisis, and support trauma centers.

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Senators re-elect their leadership teams, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); the House will vote on party leadership this week. Senate Republicans introduce $1.4 trillion legislative package to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2021.

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Lawmakers will prioritize funding for the federal government and additional COVID-19 relief. Join America's Essential Hospitals for a Nov. 18 webinar analyzing the impact of the elections on essential hospitals and health care policy. Registration open for our postelection Policy Assembly, Dec. 8–9.

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In a response to Republican leaders of House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the 340B Drug Pricing Program, America's Essential Hospitals said the program needs no fundamental reforms and continues to provide vital support to essential hospitals.

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With the arrival of Election Day, the next opportunity for a new COVID-19 relief package might not happen until after the new year. America's Essential Hospitals has opened registration for Policy Assembly, a virtual event scheduled for Dec. 8 and 9.

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Responding to concerns raised by the association and lawmakers, the Department of Health and Human Services has altered detrimental reporting requirements for the Provider Relief Fund, including one regarding lost revenue.

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