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Christina Fagnano

Legislative Affairs Associate

Christina Fagnano is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

House and Senate lawmakers work to finalize a roughly $40 billion aid package for Ukraine but remain stalled on consideration of a COVID-19 aid package; a House panel considers two bills to reauthorize various federal health programs.

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The bipartisan legislation would reauthorize programs under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Health Resources and Services Administration and is timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month.

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Despite receiving bipartisan support in the Senate, a $10 billion COVID-19 relief bill remains stalled. The outlook for congressional action is uncertain, given a lack of clarity on legislative packages that might emerge in the coming weeks and months.

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House and Senate lawmakers returned this week to Washington, D.C., and a full agenda, which could include renewed consideration of a $10 billion COVID-19 funding bill and work on a budget reconciliation measure.

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Congress began a two-week recess without passing a bipartisan, $10 billion COVID-19 relief bill. Negotiations on the bill were derailed by immigration policy changes recently announced by the White House.

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Party leaders in the Senate announced a compromise package that would fund $10 billion in COVID-19 relief for therapeutics, vaccines, and pandemic prevention. Meanwhile, a House panel continues work on legislation to aid small businesses.

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Congressional panels will review President Joe Biden's fiscal year 2023 budget request. Sens. Robert Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate low vaccination rates among Medicaid beneficiaries.

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President Joe Biden signed a $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022 spending package; he already signed a four-day continuing resolution to provide time for the omnibus spending measure to move forward. 

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Congress continues work on a roughly $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the government past March 11, but outstanding issues might force lawmakers to pass another short-term funding extension to buy additional time to reach a deal.

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The association seeks hospital feedback on unintended cuts to disproportionate share hospital payments that resulted from Section 203 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. President Joe Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th associate justice of the Supreme Court.

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President Joe Biden signed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through March 11; Biden invited all members of Congress to attend the annual State of the Union address on March 1.

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The Senate voted 50–46 to confirm Robert Califf, MD, as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); The FDA has not had a confirmed commissioner for more than a year. Senators continue work to pass a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government past Feb. 18.

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A short-term continuing resolution would maintain government funding through March 11, giving lawmakers more time to agree on a final funding bill; the measure is expected to clear both chambers. Activity on the Build Back Better Act pauses as Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) recovers from a stroke.

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A bipartisan group of senators released draft legislation to improve the nation's capacity to respond to future public health crises. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer announces his intent to retire. The Senate Committee on Budget considers the nomination of Shalanda Young as director of OMB.

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In separate bipartisan letters, lawmakers called on the Biden administration to help mitigate dire hospital workforce shortages, particularly among nurses, and protect the 340B Drug Pricing Program from harmful drug manufacturer actions.

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The nomination of Robert Califf, MD, as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration advances to the Senate floor. The Republican-led Healthy Futures Task Force issues several requests for information on telehealth policies and health care affordability.

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House lawmakers noted upcoming federal funding legislation could be an opportunity for additional COVID-19 relief. A Senate committee examines COVID-19 variants and the federal response. Both chambers released draft schedules for their 2022 work.

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Congress is focused on passing the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill before government funding expires Feb. 18. As 2021 came to a close, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced he would not support the Build Back Better Act as currently drafted, stalling the legislation.

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The legislation delays looming Medicare payment cuts and creates an expedited pathway for debt limit relief; Senate Democrats this week are expected to release legislative text for a $2 trillion debt limit increase — sufficient to last through the 2022 midterm election.

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Congress must act to avoid a government shutdown Friday; House leadership is expected to introduce a continuing resolution to fund the government through January 2022. Meanwhile, both chambers are racing to extend the debt limit and pass the Build Back Better Act.

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The Congressional Budget Office this week is expected to release a full score of the $1.75 trillion "human infrastructure" package. Meanwhile, congressional leaders say it is unlikely appropriators will reach an agreement to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2022 by the Dec. 3 deadline.

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The House passed the $1 trillion bipartisan physical infrastructure bill after agreeing on a path forward for the $1.75 trillion "human infrastructure" bill. New language in the human infrastructure measure calls for Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices and retains Medicaid DSH cuts.

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President Joe Biden last week announced a $1.75 trillion framework for "human infrastructure" reconciliation legislation; the House subsequently released updated legislative text for its human infrastructure bill that aims to close the Medicaid coverage gap.

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Democrats aim to reach a deal this week on a "human infrastructure" reconciliation framework, but topline spending numbers, social policy priorities, and other details remain undecided. Once the framework is set, the House will vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan physical infrastructure bill.

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Reports indicate Democrats are likely to land on "human infrastructure" legislation costing $2.3 trillion or less — far below the $3.5 trillion package originally passed in committee. Absent a top-line spending agreement, lawmakers cannot determine the policies to include in a final bill.

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The Senate voted Oct. 7 to temporarily increase the debt ceiling by $480 billion; the government likely will remain below the new ceiling through year's end.

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After passing a short-term measure to fund the government through Dec. 3, Congress shifts focus to the federal debt ceiling. A Republican filibuster in the Senate prevented passage of legislation to extend the debt limit; lawmakers must resolve the issue by Oct. 18 to avoid default.

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The Senate remains in a stalemate over a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through Dec. 3, leaving congressional leaders little time to avoid an Oct. 1 shutdown. House debate begins on a physical infrastructure bill and work continues on "human infrastructure" legislation.

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The House this week is expected to consider a continuing resolution to temporarily extend current funding levels for the federal government. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) intend to suspend the debt limit as part of the resolution.

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The House is scheduled to return to Capitol Hill next week, but House committees continue to meet and craft their sections of the Build Back Better Act, a "human infrastructure" reconciliation bill. House committees aim to complete markups by Sept. 15, with a full House vote possible before October.

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House committees begin marking up portions of the forthcoming "human infrastructure" reconciliation package, which is expected to include provisions to expand health coverage and lower prescription drug prices. The association's calls for government relations professionals will resume Sept. 9.

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