Last week, the House of Representatives passed the “PREEMIE Reauthorization Act” (S. 3029); and the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” (H.R. 2) conference report. The Senate confirmed: Justin George Muzinich to be Deputy Secretary of Treasury; and Jonathan Kobes to be a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit. The Senate also passed: the “Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018” (H.R. 2); the “Interstate Transport Act of 2018” (S. 1029); the “Juvenile Justice Reform Act” (H.R. 6964); the “Protecting Access to the Courts for Taxpayers Act” (H.R. 3996); the “Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act” (H.R. 1222); and the “Federal Personal Property Management Act of 2018” (S. 3031).
The current continuing resolution that temporarily funds portions of the federal government expires on December 21. This means that Congress must either enact full-year funding legislation or another continuing resolution in order to avoid a shutdown of certain departments and agencies. Democratic congressional leaders and President Trump are at odds over funding for a border wall as part of this package, highlighted by an exchange of sharp words in the Oval Office last week.
Democrats Announce Committee Assignments for the New Congress
On December 13, the Senate Democrats announced their committee assignments, agreed to by their members, for the 116th Congress. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee has jurisdiction over federal aviation policy, and played a key role in enacting the “FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018” (H.R. 302). The Senate Finance Committee is responsible for tax legislation, as well as Medicare bills and policy.
Commerce, Science, and Transportation:
- Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA);
- Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN);
- Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT);
- Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI);
- Senator Ed Markey (D-MA);
- Senator Tom Udall (D-NM);
- Senator Gary Peters (D-MI);
- Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI);
- Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL);
- Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ); and
- Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV).
- Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR);
- Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI);
- Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ);
- Senator Tom Carper (D-DE);
- Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH);
- Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO);
- Senator Robert Casey (D-PA);
- Senator Mark Warner (D-VA);
- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI);
- Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH); and
- Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
While Republicans have not yet announced their committee assignments, they have designated chairmen for the next Congress including:
- Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS); and
- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA).
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.
AAMS is working with the sponsors and cosponsors to prepare for reintroduction of the legislation in the new Congress which begins on January 3, 2019. AAMS will provide updates when bills are introduced in the House and Senate next year.
Eye on Washington Publication Schedule
The next edition of Eye on Washington will be published the week of January 7th, with updates on the newly-convened 116th Congress.