Capitol Correspondence - 10.19.21

Congress Returns This Week to Continue Negotiations on Budget Reconciliation Package

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Negotiations over what will be included in the budget reconciliation bill have been ongoing, but the return of the U.S. House and Senate this week makes it more likely that some details of the package will begin to crystallize. Last week negotiations reached an impasse over drug pricing reform—a measure seen by Democrats as necessary to raise revenue to cover the cost of the reconciliation package.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have set a deadline of October 31 to put the bipartisan infrastructure bill to a vote in the House and finalize the budget reconciliation bill. However, as major provisions, including revenue-raisers, remain in contention, it is unclear if Congress can meet that deadline.

It is also uncertain how much funding for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) will be included in the final reconciliation package. With negotiations focusing on cutting the overall price tag of the House’s $3.5 trillion proposal, there could be cuts to the HCBS provision included in the House bill, which had allocated $190 billion for HCBS.

Now is the time to take action and tell your members of Congress they must support full funding for HCBS in the budget reconciliation bill. Tell them: If not now, when?