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On the Hill: Congress continues to investigate, budget conferees set to meet

Congress continues to focus on challenges related to this week. Given the website’s technical problems, 10 Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking the administration to extend the open enrollment period.

This week Sebelius and Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, will be on Capitol Hill testifying before House committees regarding the problems with the site and open enrollment. Tavenner appears before the House Ways and Means Committee today and Sebelius will be at the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Wednesday.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) suggested last week that the House might vote again to delay the individual mandate – the third time the House has voted on the issue since July. Last week Upton held an intensive hearing regarding with the four top contractors charged with designing the site.

The budget conference committee will also have its first of several meetings this week to come to an agreement on the chambers’ respective budgets and possible changes to sequestration cuts. The committee is headed by Senate and House Budget Committee Chairs Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

From the Senate, the committee is composed of:

Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Chris Coons (D-DE)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Angus King (I-ME)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Bernie Sander (I-VT)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

House conferees include Reps. Diane Black (R-TN), James Clyburn (D-SC), Tom Cole (R-OK), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Tom Price (R-GA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).


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