Here's the scoop on what's happening this week in Congress
Following their August 24 approval of the Senate’s $3.5 trillion budget resolution, the House of Representatives cleared the way for Democrats to unlock the budget reconciliation procedural process. The FY22 appropriations bills include a number of health spending priorities. Packaged together, Democrats intend to move the spending bills alongside the bipartisan infrastructure package, H.R. 3684, which will alternatively require some Republican support.
The current tentative reconciliation markup schedule is:
|House Committee||Mark Up Date|
|Education and Labor||September 9|
|Energy and Commerce||September 13 and possibly 14|
|Financial Services||September 13|
|Homeland Security||No date set, reporting says September 10|
|Natural Resources||September 2|
|Oversight and Reform||September 2|
|Science, Space and Technology||September 9|
|Small Business||September 9|
|Transportation and Infrastructure||September 14|
|Veterans Affairs||September 13|
|Ways and Means||September 9 & 10 and September 14 & 15|
This week, Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) described the spending plan as “a vastly bigger effort” than the American Rescue Plan Act that was enacted earlier this year. It is critical that Democrats ensure the social spending bill is finalized before the bipartisan infrastructure legislation is up for vote less than a month from now.
The Medicare expansion push is the largest of issues. The inclusion of dental benefits within Senate Budget Chair Sanders’s (I-VT) push is projected to cost hundreds of billions and could threaten Democrats’ best opportunity to protect and strengthen Obamacare.
On Wednesday night, the U.S. Supreme Court (5-4) denied an emergency request seeking to block the widely controversial Texas SB8 six-week abortion ban law. The denial effectively allowed the law to go into effect midnight, September 1. The law precludes people from accessing abortion services in Texas if a woman is more than six weeks pregnant. The law also includes a private attorney’s general provision that provides a cause and award of $10,000 for anyone to sue someone suspected of helping another person access abortion. Nearly 90 percent of women who seek and obtain an abortion in Texas are more than six weeks pregnant.
In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) (H.R.3755, S. 1975) will be up for a floor vote the week of September 20. The WHPA would protect against state laws like Texas’s SB8 by creating a statutory right for providers to provide and patients to receive abortion care services.