Updated: Dems Threaten Budget Deal Over ‘Doc-Fix’, Unemployment Insurance

Left balks at proposal to take care of doctors but drop support for unemployed.

Hastings: Calls allegations lies.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Add to Briefcase
Clara Ritger
Dec. 11, 2013, 11:04 a.m.

House Demo­crats don’t want to pass a “doc fix” without ex­tend­ing un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance, and they’re threat­en­ing to sink the budget deal over it.

“If we’re go­ing to provide re­im­burse­ment to phys­i­cians, and I fa­vor that, I think we need to be sure we don’t leave 1.3 mil­lion people out in the cold,” said Rep. Sander Lev­in of Michigan at the House Rules Com­mit­tee meet­ing Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

The pro­posed doc fix would delay for three months a 20 per­cent cut in re­im­burse­ments to phys­i­cians who provide ser­vices for Medi­care be­ne­fi­ciar­ies, as in­sti­tuted by the Sus­tain­able Growth Rate for­mula. Con­gress had tried for a bi­par­tis­an, bicam­er­al per­man­ent fix in 2013, but with two com­mit­tees set to mark up the le­gis­la­tion Thursday, will not com­plete it un­til the be­gin­ning of the year.

But by re­open­ing the deal to in­clude a fix to phys­i­cian re­im­burse­ment, the budget pact’s shep­herds open them­selves to a host of re­quests to ac­com­mod­ate oth­er pri­or­it­ies.

“I per­son­ally am con­flic­ted as to wheth­er I will vote on this” budget deal, said Rep. Al­cee Hast­ings, D-Fla. “I can’t leave that many people by the way­side un­less I have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing about what’s hap­pen­ing here.”

Un­em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance pay­ments to ap­prox­im­ately 1.3 mil­lion people will ex­pire Dec. 28 without con­gres­sion­al ac­tion. Demo­crats hope to fore­stall that by pro­pos­ing a three-month ex­ten­sion of the be­ne­fits along with the three-month doc-fix pro­pos­al.

“The fail­ure to act on UI and hav­ing to do so on [phys­i­cian re­im­burse­ment] puts the en­tire bill at risk,” Lev­in said. “It’s not a cut of 25 per­cent — it’s 100 per­cent elim­in­a­tion of their be­ne­fits. It’s his­tor­ic­ally high.”

The com­mit­tee met Wed­nes­day to mark up the Medi­care meas­ure along with the Bi­par­tis­an Budget Act of 2013, the deal hammered out by Rep. Paul Ry­an, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Mur­ray, D-Wash. and an­nounced late Tues­day.

Up­date 7 p.m.: The three-month SGR pro­pos­al was re­por­ted out of com­mit­tee on a vote of 9-3.

What We're Following See More »
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
1 hours ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
2 hours ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

FULL CABINET IN PLACE
Acosta Confirmed As Labor Secretary
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Alexander Acosta was confirmed Thursday night as Labor secretary, officially filling out President Trump's cabinet on day 98 of his presidency. Nine Democrats joined every present Republican in voting to approve Acosta, with the final tally at 60-38. Trump's first choice for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after taking criticism for hiring undocumented workers and for other matters in his personal life.

Source:
HAS WHITE HOUSE BACKING
Hurd to Make Push on Federal IT
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) plans to introduce legislation today designed to help federal agencies update their aging technology—and this time, it has White House backing. Hurd worked alongside White House Office of American Innovation officials Reed Cordish and Chris Liddell in crafting and tweaking the legislation, and called their partnership an 'invaluable' part of the process."

Source:
2,300 JOBS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK
Tillerson Looking to Slash 9% of State Dept. Workforce
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The State Department plans to cut 2,300 U.S. diplomats and civil servants—about 9 percent of the Americans in its workforce worldwide—as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presses ahead with his task of slashing the agency’s budget, according to people familiar with the matter. The majority of the job cuts, about 1,700, will come through attrition, while the remaining 600 will be done via buyouts."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login