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Congress Back, May Move Families First With Cures Bill

Congress returns for what is likely to be the last sprint for the 114th Congress.  As part of that they are likely to move an updated version of the Families First Act (Conference Report 114-628)as part of a larger package of legislation. Congress may agree to a “21st Century Cures” bill that seeks to add

What Is A Reconciliation

There has been a great deal of discussion in the last few weeks of how the new Congress and the Trump Administration will use the budget reconciliation process. What is the budget reconciliation and why is it so important? Budget reconciliation is a tool used by the Congress to enact spending reductions or increases in

Congress Eyes CR Until March

Late last week Vice-President elect Mike Pence was working with House Republicans to adopt a continuing resolution (CR) that would extend FY 2017 funding into the end of March of next year.  Current funding for 11 of the 12 appropriations bills run out on December 9.  The goal of a March extension is that the

Could the Families First Act Passage Protect Title IV-E from Block Grant?

Would enactment of the Families First Act commit key Republicans leaders to protecting Title IV-E funding from being converted into a block grant?  That is a question to consider in the waning days of the 114th Congress.  Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS) has made no secret of his desire to convert both Medicaid and SNAP/food stamps

ACA: Repeal and Delay—Through Reconciliation

Incoming Republicans are speaking of using the reconciliation process twice next year with the first one used to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Some speculate that could take place as early as late January.  The mantra for opponents of the ACA for over six years has been “repeal and replace’ but the replace part is

Washington Returns to Prepare for New Congress and Administration

This week will be the first opportunity for Washington to come back together after the presidential election. With dramatic changes in the presidential election, this week will be more than just plotting the rest of the 114th Congress. This will also be a planning stage for how the new leadership and the new Congress will

This Week Should Provide More Clarity To Trump Presidency

Since much of the President-elect Trump's agenda was wrapped less around specific domestic issues and more around the larger issues such as immigration and trade, it is not clear what the domestic policy agenda will look like.  As a result, the priorities may be wrapped around a few big Trump initiatives and a Republican congressional

Home Visiting Briefing Looks Toward Next Reauthorization

On Wednesday, November 2 there was a Capitol Hill briefing on the home visiting program, MIECHV (Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting). The target audience included Capitol Hill staff from both houses and both parties.  The goal of the briefing was an early education of congressional staff on the program and how it works. The

White House Releases Task Force Release Report on Mental Health Parity

Late last month the White House Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force released an important and long-awaited report addressing mental health parity in health care plans.  The task force is the result of a March 2016, presidential order creating the task force to build on recent changes in federal law and recent

2017 Budget Path Uncertain Pending Election

Nearly a month in the new fiscal year the fate of the FY 2017 budget is anything but certain.  When the Congress returns on November 14, they must act on 11 of the 12 appropriations bills.  Military Construction, separate from defense appropriations, is the only appropriations bill signed into law. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS) has