Good Morning and welcome from Washington D.C. where Congress adverted shutdown several weeks ago and is still in gridlock like D.C. traffic on the beltway. Tension continues to rise from the horrific attacks on Israeli citizens more than a week ago. The Republican House still has not elected a Speaker and has had as many candidates fail. Where the Cleveland Browns were triumphant against the 49ers in the biggest upset of the NFL season and the Washington Commanders skated by the lowly Atlanta Falcons. Both houses are back to business this week… Welcome to the week ahead!
The Biden Administration is currently working to show support for events in Israel, while also looking to tie funding for Ukraine and Israel together to capitalize on bipartisan support for Israel. In the healthcare realm, the administration continues to move forward on Tuesday in light of congressional stagnation. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra will be featured on a webinar hosted by The Washington Post focused on the next generation of challenges and innovations in health care. Additionally that day, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Brooks LaSure will host the Quarterly CMS stakeholder call.
The upper chamber returns to business this week with an eye on approving nominations. The Senate will look to move the Jack Lew nomination as Ambassador to Israel amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. Additionally, on Wednesday the Senate HELP Committee will look to hold a hearing for Monica Bertagnolli to serve as Director of the National Institutes of Health. Also on Wednesday the Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on lowering health care costs. Finally, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on MA enrollment entitled, “Medicare Advantage Annual Enrollment: Cracking Down on Deceptive Practices and Improving Senior Experiences.”
Last week was dramatic as the Republican Conference still cannot get to 217 votes to elect a new Speaker after Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was forced to vacate the Chair. Lots of people continue to run for Speaker but have been unsuccessful in their bids. Last Wednesday, Steve Scalise (R-LA) won the nomination on a slim vote (110-99 with additional help from 3 delegates who cannot vote on the floor), but could not get enough Republican support to get the votes on the House Floor to confirm his Speakership.
Jim Jordan who ran against him initially (and actually backed him) was drafted to run again. Austin Scott (R-GA) had a brief run and it really never got out of the starting gate. Currently Jim Jordan (R-OH) is the only person in the race but is 40 plus votes shy to get nominated. Presiding Speaker McHenry has no power to move any legislation so the House of Representatives is at a legislative standstill. A group of six moderate Democrats said they would support a McHenry bid if he wanted it, but McHenry (as of now) does not have any interest of taking the gavel.
There are a little more than 30 days till the government runs out of funding. There is no one to negotiate a deal for the Republican controlled house for a CR because there is no leadership in the House. This has caused a legislative stoppage of all House Committees and no key legislation is going to move forward until the Republicans decide who is going to be Speaker of the House. Additionally, there are several pressing issues that are facing Congress besides government funding like aid packages to Israel and Ukraine. Hopefully, the House decides on who their next Speaker will be so they can fund the government and work on the aid packages to the biggest hot spots in the world right now.
Committee work resumes in the House despite the Speaker voting drama. On Thursday, October 19 the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health host a hearing entitled, “What’s the Prognosis?: Examining Medicare Proposals to Improve Patient Access to Care & Minimize Red Tape for Doctors.”
Create a great week!