Still No Deal on CHIP Funding
As we discussed last week, funding for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired on September 30. Committees in both the House and Senate have reported bills, but neither chamber has come to a bipartisan agreement on how to pay for the $10 billion bill. The current offset proposals supported by Republicans would cut funding for Affordable Care Act programs and Medicare, which Democrats oppose. Despite this lack of agreement, House leaders plan to bring the proposal to a vote late this week. The Senate has not yet scheduled a vote.
Lobbying Action: Tell Congress to act quickly to extend CHIP!
MomsRising is collecting signatures on an online petition to Congress to request an extension of CHIP for five years. Please sign onto the petition if you would like to raise your voice to protect healthcare access for the 9 million children currently enrolled in CHIP.
Disaster Relief Bill Signed into Law
President Trump signed the $36.5 billion disaster relief bill into law last week, which includes funds for Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and states impacted by the recent wildfires. Notably, the bill does not include funding for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Another disaster relief bill is expected in December.
The National WIC Association continues to work with our members impacted by the recent disasters across the country, ensuring that their concerns and needs are heard by the federal government. If your program has been impacted and you need assistance, please contact Ali Hard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health Care Update: Bipartisan Proposal Stalled
It remains unclear when or if Republican leadership will support the bipartisan healthcare deal reached earlier this month by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate HELP Committee. President Trump has given mixed signals on the proposal. Some Republicans, including Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), have suggested changes to the bill, including expanded options for short-term and catastrophic insurance plans, expanded consumer-directed accounts (like Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts), reduced employer mandates, and requirements for insurers to lower premiums.
Budget Resolution Passed, Tax Overhaul Imminent
Last Thursday, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the Senate’s FY 2018 budget resolution by a vote of 216 to 212. The budget resolution contains reconciliation instructions which will allow Congressional Republicans to pass a tax reform bill without needing any votes from Democrats (a simple 51 vote majority in the Senate is needed under reconciliation).
Now that the budget resolution has passed both chambers, Republican lawmakers will be proceeding quickly with their tax reform legislation. This Wednesday, Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, plans to release his tax-overhaul blueprint. Senate leaders have signaled that the tax reform bill could be debated and approved in both chambers by the end of November. The tax reform legislation that Republican leaders are pushing for is expected to result in significant tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of programs serving low-income Americans, such as WIC.