Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


Government Shutdown Enters Week 3

The partial government shutdown, effecting roughly a quarter of the federal government, has entered its third week. Congressional leadership continue to meet with the White House but have failed to reach a deal over funding for a border wall, with the President rejecting a $2.5 billion deal offered by his own administration and continuing to call for at least $5 billion. Democrats have repeatedly rejected this demand. The President has recently stated that he would be willing to let the shutdown continue for months or years.

House Democrats passed legislation hours after taking control of the chamber that would provide funding to reopen several federal agencies closed due to the lapse in funding and provide a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8 to allow additional time for border security negotiations. The CR to fund Homeland Security passed by a vote of 239-192. The bill to fund the remaining six unfunded agencies of the federal government through the end of the fiscal year (FY) passed by a vote of 241-190. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not brought the measures to the Senate floor for a vote, citing a veto threat from the President.

The House and Senate are back in session on Tuesday, with the partial government shutdown expected to continue. The House plans to vote this week on four individual appropriations bills: (1)Financial Services and General Government; (2) Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; (3) Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and (4) Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. The bills are identical to legislation that passed the Senate last year, with the addition of language to ensure that federal workers furloughed during the shutdown receive pay.

The House also plans to consider the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2019 on the floor on Tuesday under suspension of the rules. The bill contains the same language passed by the chamber by a vote of 367-9 at the conclusion of the 115th Congress in December. The legislation was not passed by the Senate prior to the close of the 115th Congress.

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