House Passes Debt Ceiling Bill
February 12, 2014 10:50 AM
Late Tuesday night, the House passed a measure to raise the debt ceiling. The measure passed the chamber 228 – 201. 28 Republicans joined with nearly all House Democrats to approve a “clean” extension of the government’s borrowing authority — one without strings attached — sending the measure to the Senate for a final vote, probably this week.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated that the Senate will vote on the legislation, which will likely pass. President Obama has also indicated that he will sign the bill into law, eliminating any possibility of the United States defaulting on its current debt obligations of more than $17 trillion.
The debt ceiling was last addressed in October 2013 when Senators Reid and McConnell (R-KY) were able to negotiate an end to the government shutdown, but did not address a long-term solution for the debt ceiling.
For more on the previous debt ceiling negotiations, please see NAHC Report, October 17, 2013.
Lifting the debt ceiling is considered a “must pass” piece of legislation for Congress, and with its passage in the House and likely passage in the Senate, both chambers can now focus on other issues - such as replacing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula known as “SGR.” Several proposed offsets under consideration to pay for the SGR fix would severely hurt access to and the ability to provide home care and hospice services.
For more on the SGR, please see NAHC Report, February 7, 2014.
The SGR bill will likely be coming to a head in Congress at the time that NAHC’s March on Washington is being held this year and before the current SGR patch is set to expire.
Given the real and looming threat that efforts to offset the cost of the SGR bill could have for the home health and hospice community, NAHC strongly urges all of its members to attend this year’s March and plead the case in person to lawmakers to oppose home health or hospice payment cuts or copayments to pay for the SGR replacement.
Please click here to register to attend this year’s March on Washington.