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On the Hill: Democrats Take House, GOP Retains Senate Control

Democrats harnessed dissatisfaction with President Trump’s performance and energy from motivated women voters to recapture the majority in the House during midterm elections last week.

At time of publication, Democrats had won 227 seats and Republicans had won 198, with 10 races still too close to call.

Republicans maintained majority control of the Senate, flipping three seats held by Democrats in Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota. Democrats picked up two GOP-held seats, in Arizona and Nevada. Senate races in Florida and Mississippi still are undecided; the Mississippi contest is scheduled for a run-off election Nov. 27. Republicans now hold a 51-47 edge in the Senate.

America’s Essential Hospitals will host a Nov. 14 webinar at 2 pm ET recapping the midterm elections and analyzing how the results will affect the next session of Congress.

116th Congress Leadership Elections

Elections for leadership positions in the 116th session of Congress will kick off Nov. 14, starting with House Republicans. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will retire, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is widely expected to be elected minority leader over Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). Republicans also likely will choose Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) as minority whip and Rep. Lynn Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) as conference chair and chair of the National Republican Campaign Committee, respectively.

House Democrats are scheduled to vote on party leadership Nov. 28, after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Lame Duck Session

Congress returns to legislative business this week with several important pieces of legislation to consider before the end of the year.

Congress must approve a spending bill before Dec. 7 to fund federal agencies currently operating on temporary funding, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration. In addition, Congress must act before the end of the year to reauthorize funding for key federal programs, including the Pandemic and All-hazards Preparedness Act, Farm Bill, Coast Guard, and National Flood Insurance Program. Meanwhile, President Trump and conservative Republicans are expected to continue their push for federal funds to construct a wall on the border with Mexico.

With Democrats taking control of the House in January, Republicans might try to achieve remaining policy priorities while they still control all levers of the federal government, including extending tax reform law provisions; continuing to delay Affordable Care Act taxes (including the medical device, health insurance, and Cadillac plan taxes); and fixing the Medicare Part D donut hole.

America’s Essential Hospitals will continue to engage congressional offices through the lame duck and remain watchful for legislative changes that could weaken the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

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About the Author

Erin Delaney is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.