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On the Hill: 118th Congress Off to Rocky Start in House

The 118th Congress began this week and is already off to a shaky start in the House of Representatives. Senators were sworn in on Tuesday, but House members must elect a speaker before they can swear in members-elect and adopt a rules package.

Despite Republicans’ five-seat majority, the caucus has been unable to coalesce around leading nominee, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). A small but growing faction of House Republicans, less than 10 percent of the Republican conference, has repeatedly voted against McCarthy, leaving him more than a dozen votes short of securing the gavel after the most recent vote. Without a speaker, the House cannot appoint committee chairs or members and, therefore, consider legislation or conduct other committee work.

Detailed Omnibus Summary

America’s Essential Hospitals staff has compiled a detailed summary of the health-related provisions in the recently passed omnibus, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (H.R. 2617). While we are pleased the bill included language to mitigate looming payment cuts and expand access to care, we are disappointed that targeted funding for hospitals that serve a safety net role—essential hospitals—ultimately was not included.

We look forward to working with the new 118th Congress to ensure essential hospitals have the federal support they need to serve their communities and ensure access to care for our nation’s most at-risk populations.

This Week in Congress

The Senate was in session and senators sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The Senate now stands in recess to convene for pro forma sessions only with no business conducted through the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The House is in session but unable to proceed to a vote on a resolution adopting the rules for the 118th Congress or swear in members until it elects a speaker.

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About the Author

Margaret French is the manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.

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