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On the Hill: House Democrats Elect Leadership

On Wednesday, the House Democratic Caucus will hold closed-door votes to elect its leadership team for the next session of Congress.

Leadership candidates need to secure a simple majority of their Democratic colleagues to win election.  House Democrats are expected to select Nancy Pelosi (CA), Steny Hoyer (MD), and James Clyburn (SC) for speaker, majority leader, and majority whip, respectively.

Congress Returns to Looming Deadlines

Congress must act in the coming weeks to negotiate a spending bill that will fund the federal agencies currently operating under temporary funding, including the Department of Homeland Security.

Republicans and Democrats remain at an impasse over funding for a wall on the southern border with Mexico. President Trump has threatened to veto any bill to fund the government that does not include money for the border wall. If lawmakers cannot reach an agreement by Dec. 7, portions of the federal government could shut down.

Congress has several other critical deadlines on the horizon as lawmakers return to work this week from the Thanksgiving break..

The Senate needs to approve the Pandemic and All-hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovations Act to provide new funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program and other public health–related preparedness and response programs. The bill needs Senate approval to move forward.

Lawmakers also must work to reauthorize the Farm Bill and extend the National Flood Insurance Program.

Upcoming HELP Committee Hearings

Meanwhile, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a Nov. 28 hearing on reducing health care costs through innovation in the health care system. The HELP committee also will mark up several health-related bills this week, including:

  • S. 2076, the Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, which would provide additional resources to state and local officials to increase detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s;
  • S. 3482, the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Reauthorization Act of 2018, which would reauthorize the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program for $22 million for fiscal years 2020 through 2024;
  • H.R. 6615, the Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization Act of 2018; and
  • H.R. 315, the Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, which would require the Health Resources and Services Administration to collect and publish data to identify and allocate resources to maternity care professional shortage areas.

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About the Author

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