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Capitol Correspondence - 06.18.18

House Moves Forward on Labor-HHS Budgets

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According to Politico Pro:

“House appropriators today advanced a spending bill that would boost HHS’ [Department of Health and Human Services] budget by $1 billion for fiscal 2019 — even as Democrats warned it falls well short of adequately funding several health priorities.” This bill is commonly referred to as the Labor-H bill, and the subcommittee streamed its markup process on June 15, 2018.

According to another Politico Pro article, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is among the agencies for which the Labor-H bill proposes funding cuts, to the tune of $168 million.

Now that the bill is out of the subcommittee, it will move on to a vote by the full House Appropriations Committee. ANCOR will keep its members informed of when that vote is scheduled.

Congressional staff have told Politico Pro they expect that vote to bring out efforts to include more contentious additions to the Labor-H bill:

“Lawmakers are expected to consider contentious policy riders dealing with federal funding for Planned Parenthood, Title X family planning grants and Obamacare, as well as the long-held Hyde language prohibiting federal funding of abortion. Republicans are also expected to renew an effort from last year to add so-called conscience protections for health care workers with religious or moral objections to some duties. [Emphasis added by ANCOR.] Any GOP-led provisions that make it through the House would face an uphill climb in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed.

[Congressman Tom Cole, R-OK] said the policy riders help get the Labor-HHS spending bill off the House floor, even if they are unlikely to survive in the Senate.”

Finally, a fourth Politico Pro article explains why, should a more controversial bill move out of the Appropriations committee and pass a full House vote, it would face a more difficult road in the Senate:

“In a pact that’s gone largely unnoticed on Capitol Hill, senators of both parties have so far crafted bills that are virtually free of so-called poison pill riders that usually entangle the annual spending bills. The motivation for the Senate’s uncommonly bipartisan process is the threat of a government shutdown just weeks before the midterm elections.

[…]

The tidal shift is the result of an unlikely partnership between GOP spending chief Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and [Patrick] Leahy [D-VT]. It has brought hope that the Senate can finally end its years-long drought of individual funding bills on the floor, halting the cycle of shutdowns and trillion-dollar spending bills approved in the dead of night.”