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On the Hill: 116th Congress Convenes Amid Shutdown

The 116th session of Congress will convene Jan. 3 with swearing-in ceremonies and the formal election of a new speaker of the House of Representatives, a position expected to go to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The new Congress marks the beginning of divided government, with Democrats controlling the House and Republicans maintaining leadership of the Senate.

Congressional leaders will seek immediately to reach a deal to reopen portions of the federal government that were shut down after Congress failed to approve a year-end spending bill, including the Food and Drug Administration and the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State. Negotiations between the Trump administration and congressional leaders will continue this week, with funding for a wall on the southern border with Mexico still the primary point of contention.

The 115th Congress concluded last month without further action on various health care bills, including:

  • the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovations Act, which would provide new funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program;
  • the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act, which would provide states the option to establish Medicaid health homes for children with complex medical conditions; and
  • amendments to 42 CFR Part 2 to align regulations governing confidentiality of substance use disorder treatment records with HIPAA standards.

New legislation will need to be filed in the 116th Congress to restart the legislative process for these bills.

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About the Author

Erin Delaney is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.