Negotiations around a possible budget reconciliation package continue on Capitol Hill, and it is still technically possible that HCBS funding may be included in a final deal, as Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has not said no to including HCBS funding.
Senate Democratic and GOP aides met with the Senate Parliamentarian on Thursday and Friday as part of the “Byrd Bath” process designed to ensure non-budgetary provisions are not included in the reconciliation bill. GOP staffers reportedly issued several challenges to the Democrats’ prescription drug reform proposal, including on whether seniors can make monthly payments for prescriptions rather than making a lump-sum payment, allowing drug companies to raise prices faster than inflation. GOP staffers also reportedly questioned whether the federal government can impose an excise tax on drug companies if they do not negotiate Medicare drug prices. The Parliamentarian is set to rule on these questions immanently.
Senate Democrats will still need to spend significant time drafting legislative text, work through any issues raised by Senators, and then decide on a floor strategy for amendment votes. In the meantime, Senator Manchin has reported that he has tested positive for COVID-19. Manchin’s absence—in addition that of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who recovering from hip surgery, and the uncertain return of Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), who tested positive for COVID-19 last week—risks delaying that process.
ANCOR has continued its advocacy push to encourage members to contact their Senators and tell them to support HCBS funding as part of the reconciliation bill, with a special emphasis on West Virginia, New York and Arizona. Since our call to action on July 15, 5,345 actions have been taken nationwide. Join the advocacy effort today by reaching out to your Senators and urging them to support HCBS funding.
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