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On The Hill: House Takes Additional Action on COVID-19

The House last week took two significant actions in response to COVID-19: Lawmakers approved a resolution temporarily changing House rules to permit proxy voting and remote committee work and passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800).

Several weeks ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) formed a bipartisan task force to explore how to adapt legislative business and voting procedures to social distancing practices. The resolution passed last week primarily included Democratic proposals, after bipartisan task force negotiations fell apart. The changes will enable representatives to conduct legislative business without returning to the Capitol during the COVID-19 peak in the Washington, D.C., region.

Meanwhile, the timing of further action on the HEROES ACT is unclear. The $3 trillion bill represents many Democratic priorities as Pelosi looks to drive Senate Republican leadership to the negotiating table on future legislation. In a statement, the association thanked House leaders for their work to target emergency aid to essential hospitals.

Bipartisan Letter Urges HHS to Target COVID-19 Funds to Essential Hospitals

Association and member hospital advocacy persuaded more than 90 House members to sign a bipartisan letter to the Department of Health and Human Services asking for targeted Provider Relief Fund payments to hospitals and providers that see a disproportionate number of Medicaid and low-income patients. The letter, led by Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Pete Olson (R-TX), complemented the association’s call to HHS for a dedicated $20 billion distribution from the Provider Relief Fund for essential hospitals.

COVID-19 Hearings

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will hold a remote hearing May 19 on the quarterly CARES Act report to Congress. The hearing will feature Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve System Chair Jerome Powell.

On May 20, the Workforce Protection Subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing on examining the federal government’s actions to protect workers from COVID-19.

Upcoming Association Webinar

America’s Essential Hospitals will host a May 20 webinar, at 2 pm ET, on how essential hospitals are adapting existing collaborations to alleviate food insecurity in the face of COVID-19. Webinars are open to all association members.

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About the Author

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

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