This Week in Washington: The Senate waits to see if budget reconciliation agreement has enough votes to pass.
House Passes Three Healthcare Bills
On July 27, the House of Representatives voted to pass three healthcare bills. Information on the bills and their content can be found below.
- The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act (H.R. 623) would reauthorize the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research program, a pediatric research initiative at the National Institutes of Health.
- The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act(H.R. 8454) would streamline the registration process for research involving marijuana.
- The Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2021 (H.R. 4040) would extend telehealth flexibilities for Medicare and federally qualified health centers until 2024.
More Than 100 Members Call for Additional Funding to Aid Health Clinics’ Monkeypox Response
On July 25, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and David Cicilline (D-RI) led a group of more than 100 members of Congress in a letter to President Biden, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky. In the letter, the members commended recent actions to improve monkeypox vaccine distribution and expand testing capacity, and requested that additional funding be provided to support health clinics.
Sen. Leahy Releases Appropriations Package
On July 28, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-CT) released 12 appropriations bills. The legislation would provide $10.5 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $1.4 billion for the Mental Health Block Grant. Sens. Leahy, Patty Murray (D-WA) and Chris Coons (D-DE) also introduced a $21 billion emergency supplemental funding bill to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additional information on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies section of the Appropriations package can be found below.
Sens. Manchin and Schumer Reach Agreement on Budget Reconciliation
On July 27, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that he had reached an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget Reconciliation Package. As part of the agreement, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will be added to the FY 2022 Budget Reconciliation bill. The agreement revives the reconciliation package, which was previously thought to be dead as it did not have enough votes. Votes will be held on the new reconciliation package next week. Information on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 can be found below.
Five Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Allow U.S. Foreign Assistance for Abortion Care Abroad
On July 27, Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act. The bill would ensure that U.S. foreign assistance could be used to provide comprehensive healthcare, including abortion services, by repealing the 1973 Helms Amendment to Foreign Assistance Act.
Sen. Hassan Calls for No Surprises Act to be Extended to Additional Facilities
On July 25, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calling for additional surprise medical billing protections. Sen. Hassan called for the protections in the No Surprises Act to be extended to all relevant facilities, including birthing centers, clinics, hospice facilities, nursing homes, urgent care centers and addiction treatment centers.
Sen. Peters Calls on HHS and DHS to Clarify Guidance on the Importation of and Travel with Abortion Medication
On July 21, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) wrote to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra and Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas, calling on them to more proactively protect reproductive healthcare. In his letter, Sen. Peters asked for HHS and DHS to clarify guidance on the importation of abortion medication and travel with abortion medication.
Sens. Schumer, Wyden and Booker Introduce Bill to Remove Cannabis from the Federal List of Controlled Substances
On July 21, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), which would remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances. The bill would also establish a Center for Cannabis Products at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the cannabis industry. A summary of the bill can be found here.
Sen. Klobuchar Calls on FTC to Investigate Amazon’s Proposed Acquisition of One Medical
On July 21, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) wrote to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan calling for an investigation into Amazon’s proposed acquisition of One Medical. Sen. Klobuchar expressed concern that the acquisition would harm competition and could have negative implications for personal health data.
Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.