Homeland Security Cleanup
HR 2283 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to improve morale within the Department of Homeland Security workforce by conferring new responsibilities to the Chief Human Capital Officer. Passed House.
HR 1282 directs the Department of Homeland Security to establish an Acquisition Review Board. The Board would have the responsibility of reviewing DHS acquisition programs. Passed House
HR 2190 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Under Secretary for Management of the Department of Homeland Security to make certain improvements in managing the Department’s real property portfolio. Passed House.
HR 2131 directs the Chief Human Capital Officer of the Department of Homeland Security to improve consistency regarding discipline and adverse actions in the Department’s workforce. Passed House.
Foster Care Improvements
HR 2847 makes improvements to the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and related provisions to measures outcomes relating to children in foster care and children who have aged out of foster care or left foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption. Passed House.
HR 2866 would review and improve licensing standards for placement in a relative foster family home based on reputable model licensing standards with respect to the licensing of foster family homes. Passed House.
HR 2742 requires States to adopt an electronic system to help expedite the placement of children in foster care or guardianship, or for adoption, across State lines, and to provide funding to aid States in developing such a system. Passed House.
McConnell Reveals Healthcare Bill Details
The bill, introduced as a discussion draft at this time, seems to fall somewhere between the House bill, HR 1628, and a fix to the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare). Perhaps most like the ACA the bill provides insurance subsidies based on income as in the ACA rather than age as proposed in HR 1628.
Medicaid expansion spending would be cut by the bill deeply over time but over a longer period of time than the House bill. Ultimately both bills would cut funding to expand the program. Like the House bill the Senate sees money flowing to the states for Medicaid in an open ended as needed basis but would provide the funds on a per capita basis. the Senate bill phases out Medicaid ACA subsidies over four years beginning with only 90% coverage in 2020 and a 5% reduction through 2023 and then it would be ended.
Those under 350% of the federal poverty level that do not qualify for Medicaid could receive insurance premium subsidies.
Ultimately the bill would cut Medicaid subsidies by 2025 to the extent that states may have no choice but to lessen what it provides to those recipients.
N0 federal funds can be spent on abortion unless in the case of rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life. The House bill specifically cut funds to Planned Parenthood. The Senate bill cuts funds to that organization for one year.
Requiring that insurers do not reject applicants who have preexisting conditions has not changed.
Besides eventual cuts to Medicaid the bill also cuts tax credits for those who buy their own health insurance and the credits diminish more with the insured’s age.
Who gets help has been based on those earning up to 400% of the poverty level of $12,000 for an individual. The Senate reduces the percentage to 350% of the poverty level.
Under the Senate bill employers with 50 or more employees would not have to provide health insurance to those employees.
Stabilizing the healthcare market
Cost sharing, that program that provides money to insurers to help keep premiums down would continue for two years.
The bill appropriates, out of monies in the Treasury not otherwise obligated, $15,000,000,000 for each of calendar years 2018 and 2019, and $10,000,000,000 for each of calendar years 2020 and 2021, to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to fund arrangements with health insurance issuers to address coverage and access disruption and respond to urgent health care needs within States. Funds.
CMS is to establish or maintain a program or mechanism to provide financial assistance to help high-risk individuals, including by reducing premium costs for such individuals, who have or are projected to have a high rate of utilization of health services, as measured by cost, and who do not have access to health insurance coverage offered through an employer, enroll in health insurance coverage under a plan offered in the individual market and to establish or maintain a program to enter into arrangements with health insurance issuers to help stabilize premiums and promote State health insurance market participation and choice in plans offered in the individual market.
McConnell is aiming to bring the bill to the Senate floor for amendments and votes during the week beginning June 26th after which Congress is adjourning for the Fourth of July week.
The Path Forward
McConnell seems determined to have a vote on the bill next week and would include amendments. At this time there are four Republican Senators who could not vote for it but because the bill comes wrapped in politics developed by Republicans over 6 years and the White House for two years passage may have more clout back home for conservatives who can say they kept their promise.
The bill, if passed, will go to the House where it will be heavily amended resulting in the matter being taken up by a Senate / House conference committee to iron out differences. The modification the Senate amendment to HR 1628 were hard fought against in the House raising the question if it will survive a conference. If it does the compromise will be voted on by the House and then ent to the Senate. If both bodies come to terms the bill will be sent to the White House.
The current bill can be read here
The Republican bill highlights can be read here
Report Response to Terrorism
HR 1551 requires Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Attorney General, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the head of the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) to submit reports to Congress upon completion of an investigation into an incident of terrorism. Passed House
No Fly List
Under HR 2132 the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration shall, using existing resources, systems, and processes, ensure the availability of the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program governing those erroneously on a not fly list. Passed House.
Interstate Earnings Tax
HR 1393 provides a clear, uniform framework for when states may tax nonresident employees who travel to the taxing state to perform work. Passed House.
Substance abuse and families
HR 2857 supports foster care maintenance payments for 12 months for children with parents in a licensed residential family-based treatment facility for substance abuse. Passed House.
Parental Substance Abuse
HR 2834 would improve the well-being of, and improve permanency outcomes for, children and families affected by heroin, opioids, and other substance abuse.’ By making grants to qualified programs. Passed House.
Women in the World
HR 2484 would establish as policy to promote the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of overseas conflict prevention, management, and resolution, and post-conflict relief and recovery efforts, reinforced through diplomatic efforts and programs and would ensure that the United States promotes the meaningful participation of women in mediation and negotiation processes seeking to prevent, mitigate, or resolve violent conflict. Passed House.
Forest Fire and Electricity
HR 1873 amends the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to enhance the reliability of the electricity grid and reduce the threat of wildfires to and from electric transmission and distribution facilities on Federal lands by facilitating vegetation management on such lands. Passed House
H.R. 2353 would amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 and reauthorize secondary and post-secondary career and technical education (CTE) programs through fiscal year 2023. The law would include developing academic knowledge and technical and employability skills. Passed House.
HR 1654 would direct the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to act as the lead federal agency for coordinating with 17 western states for issuing permits to construct new water storage projects on land managed by the Department of the Interior or the Department of Agriculture. Passed House.
HR 2842 Authorizes grants to States for demonstration projects to implement and evaluate strategies that provide wage subsidies to enable low-income individuals to gain and retain employment. Federal funds may not exceed 50 percent of the amount of the wages received by the recipient. Passed House.