NAHC President Updates the Board on The Status of the House & Senate Budget Negotiations
May 10, 2013 09:17 AM
NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris recently sent the following update to NAHC’s Board on the current status of House and Senate budget negotiations. Both the House and the Senate have passed competing budget proposals. The next step in the process is for both Chambers to appoint members to a Conference Committee where the differences of the two budgets can be negotiated:
The Senate passed a budget proposal for the first time in four years just before Easter. The House also passed their far more draconian version of the 2014 budget earlier this year.
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has urged the House to appoint their conferees and bring the groups together to work out differences. The House Budget Committee, Chaired by Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), after goading the Senate to act for years, has refused to participate in the process and is withholding the appointment of conferees. This means that the chances of an agreement between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate are growing increasingly less likely.
Mr. Ryan has insisted on closed-door meetings to forge agreements on larger issues, such as Medicare and other entitlement cuts, reductions in spending, and tax reform before any conference is convened. Democrats have refused. They have expressed their preferences for open door meetings and for putting everything on the table. The stalemate means that any agreement must be achieved by another route.
President Barack Obama, for example, has been working in the background to try to forge a deal with Senate Republicans that would pass the Senate and perhaps carry enough votes to pass the House. Pundits say the chances of this path being successful are slim.
Meanwhile, the U.S. will reach the official limit on deficit spending sometime this month while the Treasury has some “wiggle room.” The debt ceiling will have to be raised by the end of September. House Republicans, led by Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), have notified the Democrats that they intend to tie any hike in the official debt ceiling to the enactment of tax reform legislation.
While Speaker Boehner, Paul Ryan and other leaders have reportedly agreed with this plan, President Barack Obama is on record as saying that he will oppose any effort to negotiate on such a critical matter as raising the debt ceiling which would impede the nation's ability to pay for the bills that have already occurred.
The take away here is that these major issues will come to fruition when the membership of NAHC is in Washington for the Annual meeting. We must be prepared to counter any proposals to cut Medicare home health or to impose copayments.
An April 19, 2013 NAHC Report offers more analysis and details of what the competing budget proposals contain with respect to their affects on the home care and hospice communities.
Some budget proposals include additional Medicare cuts and home care copays, which NAHC opposes. To contact your elected officials and ask them to oppose additional cuts and copays to high-quality, cost-effective home health care, please click here.