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Eye on Washington – November 14, 2018

Overview

The Senate and House returned this week for a post-election “lame duck” session that will extend into December.

This week, the House is scheduled to vote on a number of bills, including: the “PEPFAR Extension Act of 2018” (H.R. 6651); the “Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Act of 2018” (H.R. 6018); and the “Manage our Wolves Act” (H.R. 6784).

The Senate is slated to consider Coast Guard reauthorization legislation (S. 140) and the nomination of Michelle Bowman to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Elections

Democrats won at least 32 seats in the House, which will place them in control of the chamber for the 116th Congress that convenes on January 3. A number of races are still being settled and the Democrats’ margin is expected to further increase.

While ballot-counting and recounting continues in Arizona and Florida, and a run-off election must be held in Mississippi, Republicans are likely to net two additional seats in the U.S. Senate. Results from key races include:

  • Arizona: As ballots continue to be counted, Representative Martha McSally (R) is trailing Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D) for the open seat of Senator Jeff Flake (R).
  • Florida: Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D) trails Governor Rick Scott (R) in a race that will be subject to a recount.
  • Indiana: Senator Joe Donnelly (D) lost his race against challenger Mike Braun (R).
  • Missouri: Senator Claire McCaskill (D) was defeated in her reelection bid by State Attorney General Josh Hawley (R).
  • Montana: Senator Jon Tester (D) prevailed in his race against State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R).
  • Nevada: Senator Dean Heller (R) lost to Representative Jacky Rosen (D).
  • North Dakota: Representative Kevin Cramer (R) unseated Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D).

On election night Democrats gained seven state houses. The Georgia and Florida governors’ races remain subject to challenges but Republicans lead the vote tally in both.

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:

 
Learn more about AAMS’ Public Policy efforts.