Looming budget showdown, ACA repeal set the stage for a busy week in Washington
Members of Congress return to work this week with two deadlines hanging over their heads.
Lawmakers must work quickly to pass a spending plan in order to keep the federal government open past April 28, when the continuing budget resolution expires. It will be yet another test for the Trump administration and GOP congressional leaders to unify a fractured caucus. They’ll also likely need help from Democrats, many of whom have yet to show an appetite for giving the majority party a win.
The last government shutdown occurred in October 2013 when conservatives, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), mounted an attack on funding for the Affordable Care Act.
Along with the budget showdown, healthcare could also be on center stage as Republicans try to stick to the promise of repealing and replacing the ACA during the Trump administration’s first 100 days, which end April 29.
GOP lawmakers last week circulated a new compromise plan being crafted by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.). The draft amendment to the American Health Care Act would retain the ACA’s provision that insurers cover 10 essential benefits, but it would give states the ability to seek a waiver to do away with that requirement. The draft amendment would also allow states to seek a waiver from the ACA’s requirement that insurers use community rating—as opposed to individual rating—to set premiums. Community rating was intended to bring down costs for sicker members.
At deadline, the draft amendment was still being vetted by GOP leadership, and a new AHCA had not been released. Conflicting reports suggested the Trump administration and GOP leadership were at odds over whether a vote could occur this week.