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Tag Archive | "Super Committee"

Politico Explains Impact of Sequestration

Today, Politico published an article by Jonathan Allen that sets out exactly how the cuts will impact nondefense and defense spending.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will write a sequestration order that details the exact amount of the cuts to federal programs.  The report is expected in January.

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Capital Thinking Podcast

As Congress returned from the August recess, lawmakers and stakeholders geared up for the first public meeting of the Budget Control Act’s Super Committee meeting on September 8.  In preparation for the Committee’s work, the House Ways and Means Committee Democrats released a list of potential health care specific cuts that the Super Committee could consider.  The compiled list was an accumulation of pay-fors that have been offered in various deficit reduction plans.  The list totals more than $500 billion over 10 years and staff confirmed the offsets have not been officially endorsed by Members.  The list included mostly Medicare focused cuts, such as accelerated home health rebasing ($3 billion) and a new home health copay ($40 billion), post acute provider market basket freeze ($14-28 billion), increased SNF cost-sharing ($21.3 billion), elimination of the rural health hospital add-on payment ($62 billion), GME cuts ($15 billion), new cost-sharing for clinical lab services ($24 billion), new Part D rebate for dual eligible and LIS beneficiaries ($120 billion), increased cost-sharing on beneficiaries with Medigap coverage ($12-53 billion), raise Medicare eligibility age to 67 ($124 billion), freeze income thresholds for high income beneficiaries and raise premiums ($13 billion) and chained CPI ($7 billion).   In a jobs-focused speech to a Joint Session of Congress, President Obama called on the Super Committee to come up with additional cuts to pay for his newly proposed American Jobs Act, such as through “modest adjustments” to Medicare and Medicaid.

As for committee action this past week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Agriculture-FDA spending measure on Wednesday (HR 2112) and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced two health bills in a markup on Wednesday – reauthorization measures for graduate medical education at children’s hospitals (S 958) and autism research (S 1094).  Next week the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing on Wednesday, September 14 “Securing the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain” and the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has scheduled a hearing on Thursday, September 15 titled, “Cutting the Red Tape: Saving Jobs from PPACA’s Harmful Regulations.”

The Obama Administration welcomed good news last week when a Virginia-based U.S. District Court of Appeals threw out two challenges to the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act.  In a high profile case filed by the Commonwealth of Virginia by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the court said that Virginia lacked standing to bring suit against the law.   The Attorney General filed the suit the day the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.  In the second case, filed by Liberty University of Lynchburg, Va., the appeals judges set aside a district court decision that the law is constitutional and ordered that the lawsuit be dismissed because the district court does not have jurisdiction to hear the challenge.  The Supreme Court is still likely to consider the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act in the near future.

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Membership of Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction

The House and Senate Republican and Democratic Leaders were each required to select three Members of Congress to sit on the Joint Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) appointed Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) as a Joint Committee co-chair, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) selected Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), a former Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to serve.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) appointed House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to be co-chair of the Committee, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced her selection of Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) to the Committee.

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Key Dates for Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction

On August 2, President Obama signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011, which authorizes an increase in the debt ceiling, caps spending, and provides a process by which an additional $1.2 trillion in cuts will be made.

The law authorizes a Joint Committee of Congress that is required to draft legislation to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion.  If Congress does not enact such legislation before December 23, 2011, across the board spending cuts would be triggered.  The timeframe by which Congress is required to pass this deficit reduction legislation is short:

  • August 16, 2011 – Members of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction Appointed
  • September 16, 2011 – The Joint Committee Meetings Begin
  • October 14, 2011 – House and Senate Committees may submit recommendations for deficit reduction to the Joint Committee
  • November 23, 2011 – The Joint Committee votes on recommendations
  • December 23, 2011 – The House and Senate must vote up or down without amendment on the deficit reduction legislation

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