Colorful Commentary

Federal Budget Watch, April 17

Posted April 17, 2017 by Samantha Curran
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binoculars-954021_1280The outlook on health care reform in the House remains unclear as Congress enters the second and last week of its recess — yet key Republican leaders have noted that there are ongoing negotiations with the goal of bringing a consensus bill to the House floor soon after recess.

The conservative Freedom Caucus members continue to insist that the underlying House health reform bill (ACHA) be modified to address some of their concerns, e.g., with Essential Health Benefits (EHBs). Press reports this week revealed discussions underway between the Freedom Caucus leaders and representatives of the so-called “Tuesday Group” of moderate Republicans.

However, as this story indicates (http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/328769-gop-centrists-push-back-on-obamacare-repeal), there’s no indication that moderates are budging from their opposition to anything that undercuts EHBs or pre-existing condition coverage. In fact, some leaders of the moderate Republicans have called for an entirely different approach: negotiating some limited changes to the ACA with Democrats. While this is not likely to happen in the House, it underscores the sharp differences that continue to divide House Republicans over health care reform, let alone between House and Senate Republicans.

We must, however, take seriously the continued push to bring a bill to the House floor soon after the recess. There appears to be a strong consensus among House Republican leaders and many in the Caucus (but not all) that the House simply must pass something on health reform, even if the Senate doesn’t act on it. President Trump said last week that Congress must finish health care reform before moving to tax reform.

When Congress returns next Tuesday, the major and most immediate business will be to avoid a government shut-down with the temporary budget “continuing resolution” (CR) expiring on April 28th. Intense negotiations are expected among Congressional leaders, and we understand it’s quite possible that the April 28th deadline will be extended for another week. This will shift attention from health care to the CR for at least the first week after recess.

House Republican leaders are coming under growing pressure from the Senate and other House Republicans to resolve this issue of health care reform one way or the other so that they can move forward on tax reform, an area that many Republicans think may be easier to pass (even with Democratic support, potentially) than health care.

Contact info for Colorado congressional delegation:

Sen. Cory Gardner – 303-391-5777 Email here.
Sen. Michael Bennet – 303-455-7600 / 866-455-9866 Email here.
Rep. Diana DeGette (CO District 1) – 303-844-4988 Email here.
Rep. Jared Polis (CO District 2- 303-484-9596 ) Email here.
Rep. Scott Tipton (CO District 3)- 970-241-2499 Email here.
Rep. Ken Buck (CO District 4)- 970-702-2136 Email here.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO District 5)- 719-520-0055 Email here.
Rep. Mike Coffman (CO District 6)- 720-748-7514 Email here.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO District 7) – 303-274-7944 Email here.

 

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