Last week, the House passed: the “Gulf Islands National Seashore Land Exchange Act” (H.R. 2615); the “Strengthening Coastal Communities Act” (H.R. 5787); and the “Manage our Wolves Act” (H.R. 6784).
The Senate passed: the “Coast Guard Reauthorization Act” (S. 140); legislation “to extend the effective date for the sunset for collateral requirements for Small Business Administration disaster loans” (S. 3554); and the “Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act” (S. 3321). The Senate also voted 64-34 to confirm Michelle Bowman to be a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
The Senate and House have recessed this week for Thanksgiving. When they return next week they will have two weeks to resolve the remaining fiscal year 2019 appropriations bills before the current continuing resolution expires on December 7. The Senate is scheduled to reconvene on Monday, November 26, and will vote on the motion to invoke cloture and limit debate on the nomination of Stephen Vaden to be General Counsel of the Department of Agriculture.
DOT Reestablishes Consumer Protection Advisory Committee
Last week, the Department of Transportation released a notice announcing the reestablishment of the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee. The Committee will hold its next meeting on January 19, 2019, with the agenda to include: “(1) establishment of the [National In-Flight Sexual Misconduct] Task Force (including the tasks to be carried out by the Task Force); (2) transparency of airline ancillary service fees; and (3) involuntary changes to travel itineraries.” Section 415 of the “FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018” (P.L. 115-254) extended the Committee’s sunset date to September 30, 2023.
House Republicans Select Leaders for the 116th Congress
On November 14, House Republicans elected their leadership team for the 116th Congress that convenes on January 3, 2019:
- Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA);
- Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA);
- Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY);
- National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chair Tom Emmer (R-MN);
- Policy Committee Chair Gary Palmer (R-AL);
- Conference Vice Chair Mark Walker (R-NC); and
- Conference Secretary Jason Smith (R-MO).
AAMS fully supports the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act” (H.R. 3378 and S. 2121), bipartisan legislation that would address the shortfall in Medicare reimbursements for air medical services. AAMS encourages members to contact their Senators and Members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor the legislation.
The bills would reform the Medicare fee schedule for air ambulance services, starting with a cost reporting and analysis program conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), followed by: rebasing of air medical reimbursements; and implementation of a Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program. The bill would enhance transparency by establishing cost and quality reporting requirements, as well as solve for a growing gap between Medicare payments and costs.
Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3378. The bill currently has 46 cosponsors.
Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), introduced the Senate version of the bill. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tim Scott (R-SC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), and Doug Jones (D-AL) are also cosponsors.
Additional information on this legislation, as well as on how to contact your Member of Congress and Senators:
- AAMS background on the need to reform outdated Medicare rates.
- The House of Representatives tool for identifying your Member of Congress by zip code.
- The U.S. Senate’s contact information for all 100 Senators.