Congress Sends FAA Bill to President

On Monday the Senate voted 90-7 to limit the time for further debate on the “FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018” (H.R. 302). The House of Representatives passed the bill on September 26, by a 398-23 vote. The Senate is expected to pass the bill in the next day to send it to the White House for the President’s signature.

Last week, the House and Senate also approved legislation to “extend the authorizations of Federal aviation programs, [and] extend the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund” through October 7 (H.R. 6897). The extension bill allowed the FAA to continue to operate during the final steps in the process of enacting H.R. 302.

AAMS fully supports language included in H.R. 302, which establishes an Advisory Committee to address the complex issue of balance billing. AAMS and its members support any effort to increase transparency and engage stakeholders to ensure patients requiring lifesaving air medical transport are not burdened by a bill that did not expect and cannot afford.

Overview

During its last week of session before the mid-term elections, the House of Representatives passed: the “Expanding Contracting Opportunities for Small Business Act of 2018” (H.R. 6369); the “Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act” (H.R. 6729); the “Family Savings Act of 2018” (H.R. 6757); the “American Innovation Act of 2018” (H.R. 6756); the “Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018” (H.R. 6760); and the final version of the “Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act” (H.R. 6).

The House also passed the “Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019” (H.R. 6157). The bill includes full year-funding of the Pentagon and Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor, as well as an extension of current funding through December 7, 2018, for programs not covered by enacted full-year appropriations bills. The President signed the legislation into law on September 28.

At the end of the week, the House recessed until after the November 6th elections.

Last week, the Senate passed “The Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018” (H.R. 2259); the “Transit Rail Inspection Practices Act of 2018” (S. 3139); the “Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018” (H.R. 4958); an act “To reauthorize and amend the Marine Debris Act to promote international action to reduce marine debris” (S. 3508); the “National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act” (S. 1768);  and legislation to amend the “Missing Children’s Assistance Act” (S. 3354).

The Senate’s agenda this week includes the FAA reauthorization bill and the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act” (H.R. 6). The Senate may act late in the week on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

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 following Members of Congress have cosponsored the bill since its introduction, bringing the total number of cosponsors to 46:

  • Tom Cole (R-OK);
  • Jason Smith (R-MO);
  • Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO);
  • David Loebsack (D-IA);
  • Mike Kelly (R-PA);
  • Kenny Marchant (R-TX);
  • Terri Sewell (D-AL);
  • Ed Perlmutter (D-CO);
  • Julia Brownley (D-CA);
  • Jacky Rosen (D-NV);
  • Ami Bera (D-CA);
  • Scott Tipton (R-CO);
  • Mike Coffman (R-CO);
  • Luke Messer (R-IN);
  • Filemon Vela (D-TX);
  • Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ);
  • Anna Eshoo (D-CA);
  • Martha McSally (R-AZ);
  • Jared Polis (D-CO);
  • Roger Williams (R-TX);
  • Doug LaMalfa (R-CA);
  • David Young (R-IA);
  • Tom Marino (R-PA);
  • Rodney Davis (R-IL);
  • Tom Reed (R-NY);
  • Elise Stefanik (R-NY);
  • Mark Takano (D-CA);
  • Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX);
  • Dina Titus (D-NV);
  • Diane Black (R-TN);
  • Jim Banks (R-IN);
  • Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ);
  • John Faso (R-NY);
  • Pete Aguilar (D-CA);
  • Steven Palazzo (R-MS);
  • John Garamendi (D-CA);
  • Sam Graves (R-MO);
  • Steve King (R-IA);
  • Ralph Abraham (R-LA);
  • Ruben Kihuen (D-NV);
  • Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN); and
  • Jared Huffman (D-CA)

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: