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On the Hill: Senate Votes to Increase Debt Ceiling

In a 50-48 vote along party lines Oct. 7, the Senate temporarily increased the debt ceiling by $480 billion.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reached an agreement for 11 Republicans to vote for a procedural step allowing consideration of legislation to lift the debt limit. This enabled the Senate to pass the legislation with a majority vote before the Oct. 18 deadline.

While lawmakers initially intended for the government to reach the new debt ceiling around Dec. 3 — the date the continuing resolution now funding the federal government expires — new reports indicate the government might not reach the new limit until 2022.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill as early as today.

Infrastructure and Reconciliation Package

Congress remains busy trying to pass the bipartisan physical infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package, which contains many of the Democrats’ “human” infrastructure priorities. The House could pass the bipartisan physical infrastructure by the end of the month, when current surface transportation authorizations expire, if both chambers can agree on outstanding provisions for the reconciliation package, including the topline spending number.

As negotiations continue, it appears moderate and progressive Democrats are working toward a topline spending number between $1.8 and $2.5 trillion. A smaller topline number means some policies included in the House reconciliation legislation might be reduced or shortened, while other policies might be eliminated. Conversations continue about the path forward for many health care policies; for example, Democrats remain at odds over whether the final reconciliation package will be able to both expand Medicare benefits and close the Medicaid coverage gap.

All Senate Democrats and nearly all House Democrats must vote for a final reconciliation package for it to become law.

Congressional Schedule

The House of Representatives is in a committee work period and will return briefly to Washington this week to vote to temporarily raise the debt limit. The Senate is in a state work period. Both chambers will be back in session Oct. 18.

Fall Policy Assembly

America’s Essential Hospitals invites you to join us online for our fall Policy Assembly, Oct. 19–20. Attendees will gain insights on the status of the reconciliation legislation and the outlook for essential hospital advocacy priorities for the remainder of the year. Register today!

FAN Exclusive: 2022 Election Preview

A year out from the 2022 midterm elections, campaigns are beginning to heat up. Join America’s Essential Hospital’s Federal Action Network (FAN) Nov. 3, at 2 pm ET, for an interactive election preview with Amie Adams, senior vice president of government relations at Dunn Associates. This special presentation is an exclusive benefit to members of the FAN. Not a FAN? Join at no cost today.

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About the Author

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

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