Overview

The Senate and House are in recess, and will reconvene next Tuesday, November 13. Congress will hold a “lame duck” session in November and December, with activity that will include: election of House leadership for both parties for the 116th Congress, which will convene on January 3, 2019; and completion of work on the remaining Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations legislation. The current “continuing resolution”, which funds parts of the government not subject to enacted full-year appropriations bills, expires on December 7, 2018.

Elections

All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and one-third of seats in the U.S. Senate are being contested in the mid-term elections that culminate with today’s in-person voting. Election handicappers are calling for Democrats to take over the House, while the Senate is expected to remain in Republican control.

As of November 4, Real Clear Politics rated six Senate races as “toss-ups”:

  • Arizona: Representative Martha McSally (R) vs. Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D) for the open seat of Senator Jeff Flake (R).
  • Florida: Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D) vs. Governor Rick Scott (R).
  • Indiana: Senator Joe Donnelly (D) vs. businessman Mike Braun (R).
  • Missouri: Senator Claire McCaskill (D) vs. State Attorney General Josh Hawley (R).
  • Montana: Senator Jon Tester (D) vs State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R).
  • Nevada: Senator Dean Heller (R) vs. Representative Jacky Rosen (D).

In addition, in North Dakota, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D) has been trailing Representative Kevin Cramer (R), and Real Clear Politics has rated the race as “likely Republican”.

As of Monday morning, Real Clear Politics projected that Democrats could gain up to 46 seats in the House, with an average projected gain of 26.5. In their penultimate pre-election projection, Larry Sabato and the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics rated “212 House seats at least leaning to the Democrats, 202 at least leaning to the Republicans, and 21 Toss-ups.” Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to take over the House.

In governors races, the Center for Politics’ “ratings show 22 governorships at least leaning Republican, 18 at least leaning Democratic, and 10 Toss-ups.” Democrats are expected to gain a net handful of gubernatorial offices.

Close elections are possible, which could lead to recounts. Run-off elections could also be required in the Georgia Governor’s race and the special U.S. Senate election in Mississippi to fill the balance of former Senator Thad Cochran’s (R) term.

Member Reminder

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: