In Rare Compromise, Hill Leaders Agree On Temporary Spending Deal To Keep Government Running Through Next March
The tentative deal would prevent a government shutdown before Election Day. Modern Healthcare reports, though, that the agreement does not include any changes or fixes to the physician payment formula—which will require a 27 percent cut in payments to Medicare physicians next year.
The New York Times: Leaders Reach Tentative Deal On Spending To Avoid Fight Before Election Day
House and Senate leaders on Tuesday, with little fanfare and no drama, said they had reached a tentative agreement that would pay for federal government operations through next March, averting the prospect of another messy shutdown debacle. … Republican lawmakers will spend much of the week railing against impending cuts to the military that also resulted from the debt-ceiling legislation. Democrats are largely focusing on an effort to renew the Violence Against Women Act, and supporting a provision in the health care law requiring most employers to cover contraception, which takes effect on Wednesday (Steinhauer, 7/31).
The Wall Street Journal: Lawmakers Agree To Extend Funding For Six Months
Republican and Democratic leaders said Tuesday that they have agreed to extend current government funding levels through the first six months of the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, avoiding the prospect of a pitched budget battle shortly before the election (Bendavid, 7/31).
Modern Healthcare: Federal Budget Agreement Contains No SGR Adjustment
Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama announced an agreement that will keep the federal government operating through the first quarter of 2013, but the agreement does not include adjusting or repealing the sustainable growth-rate Medicare payment formula—which a new Congressional Budget Office analysis says will require a 27% cut in physician payments next year (Robeznieks, 7/31).
Politico Pro: GOP Majority Stumbles Into August Recess
The new Republican majority came in with a roar, but it’s crawling into the August break with a whimper. Here’s what they will have on the scoreboard before the election: a Senate-driven, two-year highway bill; a six-month extension of government spending at levels they’ve all decried as too high; and no farm bill. They haven't completely reformed the Tax Code; they haven’t made a dent in the national debt; and the government isn't appreciably smaller or more efficient than it was when they were sworn in. And instead of dismantling the president’s health care overhaul, they watched the Senate sit on their repeal effort and the Supreme Court lend its imprimatur to the law (Allen and Sherman, 7/31).
Meanwhile, efforts to repeal the health law continue -
Politico: Mitch McConnell Calls For 'Obamacare' Repeal Vote As Democrats Talk Women's Health
Democrats are trying to talk up the benefits of "Obamacare" for women's health Tuesday — but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is still trying to force a vote to repeal it. On the Senate floor Tuesday morning, McConnell asked Reid if the Republicans would have a chance to offer a repeal amendment to the cybersecurity bill — just as Reid was finishing a passionate floor speech about how the law would be a big step forward for women and recalling his wife's own battle with breast cancer (DoBias, 7/31).
Roll Call: Internet Security Bill Could Be Stalled
Chances for passage this week of legislation to strengthen the nation’s response to cyber-attacks were further complicated today as Senate Republican leaders said they will seek to offer an amendment to repeal the health care law (Sanchez, 8/1).
Politico Pro: Federal Exchange Subsidies Draw GOP Ire
A Republican senator has introduced a resolution to overturn an IRS rule that allows federally run exchanges to offer subsidized coverage, and a key House committee plans to investigate the topic during a hearing Thursday. Both steps underscore the desire by Republicans on the Hill to keep their pre-election focus on the Affordable Care Act. The House leaders aren't planning more repeal votes this session, and the Senate Democrats oppose them. At issue is a section of the law that provides tax credits to people who buy coverage through the exchanges "established by the state." Critics seized on that wording as proof that the law did not intend for subsidies to be offered in those states where the federal government runs the exchange — and they say the IRS overstepped its authority when it allowed the move (DoBias, 8/1).