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Capitol Correspondence - 06.18.17

Speaker Ryan Says Congress on Schedule for AHCA to be Completed Next Month

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As reported by Politico, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) said over the weekend that he expects the Senate to pass their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) prior to the July 4 recess, leaving the House to work on the bill in July. If the bill passes the Senate with substantial changes from the House-passed bill as is expected, the House would have to pass the Senate version or else move to a process called conferencing where Senators and House members agree on a compromise bill that would pass both chambers. Ryan said that he has been in daily talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who is shepherding the bill through the Senate. He also said that he expects to have the AHCA wrapped up by mid-summer, allowing Congress to focus on tax reform which he expects could be done by the end of the year. 
As it currently stands, what the Senate AHCA bill will look like is still unknown, as no discussion drafts have been circulated, and no committee meetings or hearings have been held on it. Drafting of the bill continues to be confined to a small workgroup of thirteen Republican Senators who have not provided specifics of what the bill will look like when it comes to a vote. It is expected that the Senate will put the bill up for a vote the week of June 26, likely with an amendment fully substituting the House-passed text with text the Senate provides. Under that procedural process, it means the text will likely not be available in advance of the vote.