First salvo in health care reform and a CRAzy week in the Senate

The Takeaway
House
In Session
Senate
In Session
President
DC


Congress in the Spotlight
:

In the House:

The House Ways and Means and the House Energy and Commerce Committees released their parts of Obamacare replacement legislation last night, dubbing the new combined effort as the “American Health Care Act” (AHA). Here’s what House Republicans are saying about the legislation, on www.readthebill.gop.

From the executive branch, President Trump tweeted approvingly, and HHS Secretary Price issued a letter in support.

While there are competing press conferences on the bill this afternoon, the real action happens Wednesday morning, when both committees will hold hearings on the legislation. Our experts will be listening closely and studying the bill this week, and we’re pleased to see many important provisions that we believe will improve the current health care system, including:

  • Repealing many of ACA’s harmful taxes, including the Health Insurance Tax and the Medical Device Tax;
  • Preserving the longstanding tax treatment of employer sponsored coverage through which 177 million individuals receive their health care coverage;
  • Delaying the 40 percent Cadillac tax.

Mini-Takeaway: This return to a more free market system is a step in the right direction that has been a long time coming. Read more on what we’re saying here.

The House is also voting on tort reform legislation on Friday, to reduce the power (and the pocketbooks) of trial lawyers who take advantage of our legal system and class action suits.

>>>Tell your Rep. to support H.R. 985 this week!

In the Senate:

It’s getting CRAzy in the Senate this week, with multiple votes on Congressional Review Acts (CRAs). Remember, the CRA is a legislative tool that allows Congress, through a simple majority and the President’s signature, to repeal rules and regulations implemented in the waning hours of the Obama Administration. They each require 10 hours of scheduled debate in the Senate, easily filling up the chamber’s calendar.

Last night, they passed the Blacklisting CRA by a 49-48 vote, meaning the thousands of you who took action to contact your Senators made a BIG difference!

What other CRAs are still on the Senate docket?:

Repealing Anti-Energy Regulations – The Senate is currently in the midst of debate on a flaring and venting CRA, to undue a Bureau of Land Management rule that’s adding significant costs to American energy production. Tell the Senate to pass this CRA.

Protecting Retirement Savers – Last year, the Department of Labor opened up a massive exemption in protections on retirement savings to let state and local governments enter the private-sector retirement game. It’s a terrible idea, and the Senate can pass the “Safe Harbor” CRA to block it. Weigh in with your Senators.

For Your Radar – We’re hearing the Regulatory Accountability Act may be introduced this week in the Senate. It passed the House in January, and is a major policy reform that updates how regulations are written for the first time since 1946. We’ll let you know what happens.

The Takeaway: There’s a reason Thomas Jefferson referred to the Senate as the “cooling saucer” for legislation – it takes time for bills to work their way through the chamber’s rules and customs. Will that slow down the 2017 agenda?

On the Other Side of Pennsylvania Avenue:

President Trump signed an updated version of his executive order on travel restrictions yesterday, though it’s not due to take effect for 10 days.

Today, Trump is meeting with Senators Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, and David Purdue for events at the White House, as well as hosting the Boy Scouts of America in the Oval Office.

He also found time for a surprise welcome of a school class taking a tour of the White House.

The Department of Labor is seeking public comments on a delay and/or fix to the Fiduciary Rule, following Trump’s executive action last month. This is the rule that will restrict retirement investment advice and drive up costs for the plans small businesses offer.

fiduciary-rule_2x.png

The first deadline is March 15th. Submit your comment to delay the Fiduciary Rule – otherwise it could be implemented in just a month!

Looking down the road: The White House is expected to release executive actions in the coming days or weeks related to cyber security, CAFE standards for vehicle mileage, and new coal leases on federal lands.

The Takeaway: Trump continues to use his executive powers to drive the conversation in D.C. Will action in the Congress mute his message?

Out of This WorldThe U.S. Chamber hosted the Aviation Summit 2017 last week, complete with a live interview link up with the International Space Station and drones buzzing around the room.

Friends of
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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