Disability Policy News In Brief

October 2, 2017

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October 2, 2017   |   Vol. XV, Issue 142
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The Senate Budget Committee released its fiscal 2018 budget resolution on Friday.  If passed, it will allow Congress to advance a major tax cut bill using the reconciliation process that could lead to major cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, education, transportation and other funding for community-based services. The resolution would allow an increase in the deficit by $1.5 trillion during the next decade to advance the tax bill that would cut taxes by the same amount.  The Senate Budget Committee plans to mark-up the bill this week followed by floor debate and passage the week of Oct. 16. Once the budget resolution is signed into law, the tax writing committees can begin their work, likely by the end of October.  

Health Care in the Tax Plan
Last week Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) decided not to put the Graham-Cassidy health care bill on the Senate floor for a vote because he knew it did not have the 51 votes needed for passage - a major victory for the disability community. 

Unfortunately, there are plenty of other ways for the Federal government to make cuts to Medicaid and weaken the Affordable Care Act.

While the just-released FY 2018 budget resolution does not include reconciliation instructions for the HELP committee, the instruction to the Finance committee would allow the Senate to take up ACA repeal bills nearly identical to those considered this year and pass them with just 50 votes. The instructions make it possible for a tax reconciliation bill to also cut Medicaid and Medicare and cut or eliminate the ACA premium tax credits, repeal the mandates, or make other changes. (See more talking points regarding this issue on AUCD's website and also CCD's Principles for Tax Reform).

In addition, the tax cut proposals under discussion would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans and businesses, according to an analysis released on Friday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The breakdown is based on the framework released by the "Big Six" group of Republican lawmakers and administration officials this week, which did not include many details. The Tax Policy Center estimates the plan will cost $2.4 trillion over a decade. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the plan closely follows many aspects of the House Republican's "Better Way" plan released last year, which was heavily tilted to those high on the income scale.  Like that plan, the new framework offers little for working families with modest incomes compared to what it would do for those at the top.  The Americans for Tax Fairness also includes a number of analyses of the Trump-Ryan tax plan. Please watch for action steps to educate your Members of Congress about how these budget and tax proposals might impact people with disabilities coming soon.

CHIP Hearings

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced they will hold a markup of the Keeping Kids' Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act (S. 1827) on Wednesday, October 4. Chairman Hatch stated "This important legislation will ensure the vulnerable children and their families who depend on CHIP receive much-needed certainty by guaranteeing uninterrupted funding for the program, which has been a top priority of this committee" and Ranking Member Wyden emphasized that "Congress needs to act quickly to secure kids' health care". For morning information and to view the webcast and testimony visit the Committee website.

Also on October 4, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a markup on a bill to reauthorize funding for CHIP program. This markup comes after the program's funding expires resulting in some state's programs running out of funding on September 30. See the committee's announcement for more information.

New Appointments

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday, September 29 in the face of multiple federal inquiries and growing criticism of his use of private and government planes for travel. President Trump asked Deputy Assistant Health Secretary Don Wright to serve as acting secretary of the agency. Price was formerly a Georgia Representative and was a lead proponent for reducing federal government spending on health care while shifting more of the financial burden onto individuals. He was a leader in repealing the Affordable Care Act and block-granting Medicaid.

Friends of NICHD News

Autism Spectrum Disorder Biomarker Development Webinar
NICHD will be hosting a webinar on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Biomarker Development - Past, Present, and Future featuring clinical psychologist Gahan J. Pandina, Ph.D. on Thursday, October 19 at 12:00-1:30pm EST. Additional information can be found here and you can register here.

ICYMI - NICHD FY 2018 Labor-HHS Appropriations
The FY 2018 Senate Labor HHS bill (approved by full committee on Sept. 7) recommended NICHD receive $1.426 billion, an increase of $46 million from the FY 2017 omnibus level ($1.38 billion) and $25 million more than the House recommendation of $1.401 billion.  The bill included a $2 billion increase for NIH, compared to the House bill which included a $1.1 billion increase. You can review the Senate bill text and  committee report (report language for NICHD is on p. 97-98).  The White House also recently signed a 3-month Continuing Resolution extending the appropriations deadline through December 8. 

September NICHD Advisory Council Meeting - archived
NICHD has archived the webcast of the recent September 14 meeting of the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council. Also, the Friends of NICHD, chaired by Craig Fisher (Senior legislative staff for the APA), will be holding its quarterly meeting in October.  AUCD will participate.

Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and to celebrate NDEAM, this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All, Liz interviews Richard Davis, who is the Policy Advisor at the U.S. Dept. of Labor in the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Liz and Richard talked about the Employment First efforts in states. In case you missed last week, Liz interviewed Bruce Keisling, Director of the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities and chair of this year's AUCD conference. Liz and Bruce talked about what to expect at the upcoming conference




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For definitions of terms used in In Brief, please see AUCD's Glossary of Legislative Terms 

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