Late last week, the House and Senate approved a short-term continuing resolution (H.J.Res. 123), which funds the government through December 22, 2017. Congressional leaders hope to finalize an omnibus appropriations bill for the balance of Fiscal Year 2018 by the time the continuing resolution expires.
Last week the House also approved: the “Secret Service Recruitment and Retention Act of 2017” (H.R. 3731); the “Enhancing Veteran Care Act” (S. 1266); the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017” (H.R. 38); and the Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2017” (H.R. 477). The Senate spent much of last week debating nominations, and voted to confirm: Kirstjen Nielsen to be Secretary of Homeland Security and Susan Bodine to be an Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
This week the House is expected to vote on: “Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act” (H.R. 1638); the “Corporate Governance Reform and Transparency Act of 2017” (H.R. 4015); and the “Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act” (H.R. 4324).
On Monday, the House approved, under the expedited “suspension of the rules” process for non-controversial legislation, the “Securing General Aviation and Commercial Charter Air Carrier Service Act of 2017” (H.R. 3731). The bill is intended to “improve and streamline security procedures related to general aviation and commercial charter air carriers utilizing risk-based security standards”.
Last week the House and Senate separately voted to appoint conferees who will be tasked with negotiating a final version of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1) that can be sent to the President. On Friday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) announced that the conferees will meet on Wednesday, December 13. Staff for the tax-writing Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees are already working on drafting a blended version of the two chambers’ bills. The White House and congressional Republicans hope to have the final package passed and signed into law before Christmas.
On Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote on the “National Transportation Safety Board Authorization Act” (S. 2202). As described in a Committee press release, the bill includes provisions to: authorize the NTSB to disclose “still images…during the course of an investigation in order to increase transparency to the public about the circumstances of accidents”; and expand the “information available to the public by requiring the NTSB to publish a report on the process they use to prioritize and select safety recommendations included in the agency’s ‘Most Wanted List’”. The bill would also expand the requirements for air carriers to submit “plans to address [the] needs of families of passengers involved in aircraft accidents”.
On November 14, Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), introduced the Senate version of the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act of 2017” (S. 2121). The legislation 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 in 2021; and implementation of a Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program beginning in 2024. 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.
- 2121 is the companion bill to H.R. 3378, which was introduced by Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX). Representatives 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), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) have also cosponsored the House bill.
AAMS fully supports this legislation, and encourages members to contact their Senators and Members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor S. 2121 and H.R. 3378. The House of Representatives provides a tool for identifying your Member of Congress by zip code. The U.S. Senate provides contact information for all 100 Senators.
More Information on H.R. 3378: