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On the Hill: SGR Markup, Possible Budget Agreement This Week

This week may be one of the busiest of the year for Congress, as lawmakers seek to move critical legislation before recessing for the holidays. Both the House and Senate are in session this week. The House expects to finish its business for the year by Friday, but the Senate may remain in session until next week.

On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee will mark up legislation to repeal the formula for annual adjustments to Medicare physician payments, the sustainable growth rate (SGR). The House Ways and Means Committee also is expected to mark up the bill this week, but a date has yet to be announced. The legislation is likely to include other health care program extenders. Newsline previously reported on the extenders that lawmakers likely will include in the legislation.

While details of a budget agreement continue to be vague, House and Senate budget chairs Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA) likely will bypass the budget conference committee and bring a final deal directly to the House and Senate floors. The deal is expected to include a partial repeal of sequestration and to increase agency budgets to approximately $1.015 trillion in fiscal years 2014 and 2015. To pay for it, lawmakers may cut federal worker pensions and increase security fees for airline passengers.

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