This week, the House and Senate are working to wrap up business for 2017, with tax reform and appropriations legislation topping the agenda.

Last week the House approved: the “Financial Institution Customer Protection Act of 2017” (H.R. 2760); the “Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2017” (H.R. 1730); the “Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act of 2017” (H.R. 3971); the “Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act” (H.R. 1638); and the “Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act” (H.R. 4324).

The Senate’s work included confirmation of Leonard Steven Grasz, and Don R. Willett to be a U.S. Court of Appeals judges; and passage of the JUST Act (S. 447) and the PACT Act (H.R. 654).

Tax Reform

Last week House and Senate negotiators reached agreement on the final version of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1). Late on Friday congressional Republicans released the text of the legislation. The Senate could vote on the bill as soon as Tuesday, December 19, with the House expected to follow, sending the bill to the President for his signature.

NTSB Legislation

Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to report the “National Transportation Safety Board Authorization Act” (S. 2202), sending the legislation to the full Senate. 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”.

Member Reminder

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.

  1. 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), 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: