After a two-week recess, House and Senate lawmakers returned this week to Washington, D.C., and a full agenda that includes possible additional aid for Ukraine and a formal conference on legislation to improve competitiveness with China and address supply chain issues.
Important for essential hospitals, Congress might revisit the $10 billion COVID-19 funding agreed upon by both parties in the Senate a few weeks ago. However, a potential amendment vote related to immigration policy, which derailed consideration of this legislation before recess, still could threaten movement on additional COVID-19 relief.
Meanwhile, reports indicate some initial conversations related to budget reconciliation might resume this work period. Many lawmakers view this legislative vehicle, which can pass the Senate by a simple majority, as critical to achieving key outstanding priorities for the Democratic caucus. While the content and timing of any new reconciliation bill are unclear, reports indicate that Democratic lawmakers hope to pass an updated package before July 4.
Senate Action on Drug Pricing
Last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra describing various actions the Biden administration can take through executive actions to lower prescription drug prices. Some of the suggestions in Warren’s letter include the federal government purchasing patented drugs in bulk and paying royalties to the patent holders and allowing the federal government to manufacture drugs to then sell at lower costs.
Hearings of Note
On Wednesday, April 27, the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing on the fiscal year (FY) 2023 HHS budget.
On Thursday, April 28, the House Committee on Ways and Means also will hold a hearing on the FY 2023 HHS budget.