Washington Update: Week of May 15

May 16, 2017
Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations

  • With fiscal year 2017 appropriations finalized, Congress now turns to the fiscal year 2018 budget and appropriations process.
  • The Trump administration is expected to release its fiscal year 2018 budget proposal Tuesday, May 23. The House is holding off until the release of the president's budget to mark up the fiscal year 2018 budget resolution including instructions for reconciliation.
  • The Senate is not looking to pass a budget resolution until after they have completed their health care bill. While the fiscal year 2017 budget season ended on a high note, we have our work cut out for us for the 2018 cycle. These budget proposals are expected to include deep cuts to both domestic and international non-discretionary and mandatory spending. 

Immigration

  • We are still urging members of Congress to co-sponsor the BRIDGE Act (H.R. 496). As of right now there are 25 co-sponsors: 12 Republicans and 13 Democrats.

American Health Care Act

  • Right now, the Senate is working on developing a health care bill similar to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed in the House.
  • Instead of starting from scratch, the Senate is looking to amend the House bill. There is a real danger that the Senate version will claim to make small improvements to pre-existing conditions and age rating, but will still include draconian cuts to Medicaid.
  • Right now, we think that there are two possible deadlines Republicans have set for when they want to pass the Senate bill: Before the July 4 recess or before the August recess.
  • The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its estimate of how much the AHCA will cost taxpayers by Monday, May 22. Contrary to previous processes, the House passed the AHCA without knowing the exact cost of the bill. 

Act Now!

Right now, the Senate is working on language for a health care bill that would cut billions of dollars in Medicaid and put low-income and vulnerable people at risk, of again, having to make the terrible choice between purchasing food or medicine. Call your senators (800-826-3688) and urge them to reject the American Health Care Act and any cuts to Medicaid.

Every senator needs to hear from their constituents, but these six U.S. senators will be key in this process. If you live in any of the following states, we especially need you to make calls urging them to protect Medicaid and reject the American Health Care Act:

Arizona: Sen. Jeff Flake
Alaska: Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Louisiana: Sen. Bill Cassidy
Maine: Sen. Susan Collins
Ohio: Sen. Rob Portman
Pennsylvania: Sen. Pat Toomey 

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