This week in Washington: Reconciliation markup passes out of House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Marks Up Build Back Better Act
From Sept. 13-15, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a markup of the Build Back Better Act provisions. The committee approved measures to permanently extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), expand maternal health coverage, fund ARPA-H, invest in home- and community-based services and expand Medicare coverage of dental, vision and hearing, among other things. The committee did not pass the Medicare drug price negotiation bill (H.R. 3) due to resistance from three centrist Democrats. However, H.R. 3 will be included in the budget reconciliation bill since it was passed by the Ways and Means Committee. The next step is for the proposals of the different committees to be packaged together and considered by the full House. For more information, find Chairman Pallone’s press release on the markup here.
House Ways and Means Committee Marks Up Build Back Better Act
On Sept. 15, the House Ways and Means Committee finished their markup of the Build Back Better Act provisions. Health care measures approved included making the Affordable Care Act tax credit permanent. The previous week, the committee had approved other health care measures including expanding Medicare hearing, vision and dental benefits and improving data collection in nursing homes. The next step is for the proposals of the different committees to be packaged together and considered by the full House. For more information, find Chairman Neal’s press release on the markup here.
House Rules Committee to Consider Continuing Resolution
On Sept. 20, the House Rules Committee will meet to consider a continuing resolution to ensure that funding continues for the government past Sept. 30, 2021.
Reps. Scalise and Comer Write to FDA Commissioner with Concerns Regarding White House Booster Shot Position
On Sept. 14, ranking member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Steve Scalise (R-LA) and ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Reform James Comer (R-KY) wrote to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock expressing their concern that the Biden administration is promoting COVID-19 vaccine booster shots despite a recent FDA publication stating that the current evidence does not support the need for a booster vaccine. President Biden previously stated that booster doses of the mRNA vaccine would be available to Americans starting on Sept. 20. The Republicans expressed concern that the White House is pressuring the FDA to authorize the booster shots and requested documents of communications with the White House on this topic. The letter can be found here.
The Senate and Reconciliation
On Sept. 15, President Biden met with Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) to discuss their concerns with the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. Democrats need every Democratic senator to vote for the reconciliation package in order for it to pass. While the Senate committees have not formally acted on the reconciliation, members are discussing legislation and will differ from the House in several ways.
Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.