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On the Hill: Recesses, Bill Markup and Mental Illness Briefing, Burwell Hearings and VA Controversy Continue

The House will reconvene from recess today for a three-day session before returning to recess next week. The Senate is on recess this week and will return to Washington next week.

On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Subcommittee on Health will mark up three bills: Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, Improving Regulatory Transparency and New Medical Therapies Act, and Ensuring Patient Access to Effective Drug Enforcement Act. On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a briefing on the committee’s report investigating severe mental illness programs run by the federal government.

Last week the Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved Sylvia Matthews Burwell to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) encouraged Republicans to support Burwell with the hope that it will foster a positive relationship between her and the Finance Committee, and ultimately only three Republicans on the committee opposed the nomination in the final vote of 21-3. The Senate is expected to consider Burwell’s nomination in early June.

Congress continues to raise concerns over the allegations of delays in care at several U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals. Senate VA Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and House VA Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL) both indicated the problems at the VA stem beyond VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. Sanders stated over the weekend that there is a lack of adequate resources to care for new veterans, and Miller said the mindset must change to avoid these major issues in the future.

 

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About the Author

Walsh is the senior manager of legislative affairs for America's Essential Hospitals.