Update from Capitol Hill – April 14

Congress returned from its spring break on April 13. Congress is will likely consider two major legislative items before the end of the month. Additionally, a bill affecting the child support program is expected to be introduced in the House.

The Senate is slated to debate and pass the so-called doc fix bill which will reform the way physicians are reimbursed under Medicare. Attached to the measure are provisions important to states, including two-year funding extensions for both the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The legislation also makes permanent the transitional medical assistance (TMA) program which allows low-income families to maintain their Medicaid coverage for up to one year as they transition from welfare to work. The House adopted the bill (H.R. 2) in late March. The administration supports the measure.

Congressional leaders are also working to craft a concurrent budget resolution so that the Senate and House work from the same spending blueprint in the coming months. The measure will likely include a special procedure called reconciliation which directs committees to find certain levels of entitlement or mandatory spending savings and/or new revenues. A reconciliation bill cannot be filibustered in the Senate, but the administration continues to have veto power over such a bill.

On the child support front, NCSEA expects that a bill to fix the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to exempt the child support program from those requirements will be introduced perhaps as early as this week. NCSEA has met with staff to the prospective Republican and Democratic sponsors of the legislation and with staff to the committee with jurisdiction over FCRA. NCSEA’s letter of support for the draft bill may be found here.

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