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On the Hill: Omnibus Spending Bill Expected This Week

With temporary government funding set to expire this Friday, House Republicans are expected to release early this week text of an omnibus spending bill to fund the government through the end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30.

Negotiations on the bill have stalled amid disagreements on certain provisions, such as including Hyde Amendment language barring abortion access as part of a larger package to stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance marketplace. While Republican leaders have said the abortion access language is non-negotiable, other Republican lawmakers argue that the spending bill should not include any market stabilization provisions. Democrats in the House and Senate have vowed to oppose the Hyde Amendment provision in the spending bill.

The final bill will need 60 votes to pass in the Senate.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last week released a preliminary report based on a two-page summary of the omnibus that circulated in the Senate. That summary included market stabilization language from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and a reinsurance proposal from Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bill Nelson (D-FL). The summary also included language to fund cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies, increase state flexibility through section 1332 waivers, and secure standard Hyde amendment protections. The CBO report projected that restoring CSR payments would reduce premiums by an average of 10 percent in 2019, increasing to 20 percent in 2020 and 2021.

Committee Activity

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce this week continues its series of hearings on the opioid crisis. A March 20 hearing will examine the Drug Enforcement Administration’s role in combating the epidemic, and a hearing the following day will focus on public health and prevention, including a review of 25 pieces of proposed opioid legislation. The committee is aiming to vote on a bipartisan opioid legislation package by Memorial Day weekend.

The House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a March 21 hearing on the implementation of Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act physician payment policies.


About the Author

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

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