Senate Republicans may unveil a revised draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (TAXDAY, 2017/06/23, C.1) by the end of the week, leading to a possible floor vote as early as the week of July 17, according to several reports. In response to a request for confirmation on whether a new bill will be released in the coming days, David Popp, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., communications director, told Wolters Kluwer on July 10 that he had “no expectations of a bill release today.” According to Popp, Senate Republicans are still awaiting an updated score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., told reporters on July 10 that Senate Republicans would likely release their revised plan to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) and related taxes sometime this week. “Hopefully, next week we’ll be prepared to take the bill up and vote on it,” Cornyn said.
There has been talk among lawmakers that the forthcoming revised BCRA could pull back from its initial proposal to repeal or delay all of the ACA’s enacted taxes (TAXDAY, 2017/06/30, C.2). The new measure may retain a 3.8-percent net investment income tax (NIIT) that applies to individuals, estates and trusts that have investment income above certain threshold amounts. Retaining the NIIT could allow additional funding for other provisions in the health care reform bill.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and three other Democratic senators sent McConnell a July 10 letter requesting that several measures previously introduced also be considered in the health care reform process. According to the senators, “common sense reforms” include guaranteeing permanent cost-sharing reduction payments, creating a permanent reinsurance program and addressing the “cliff” on cost-sharing subsidies.
Schumer spoke on the Senate floor on July 10, urging Republicans to move on from the “Republican-only approach and start over, in a bipartisan way, on health care.” He said, “We Democrats are ready and willing to work with our Republican colleagues on health care.”
McConnell, too, spoke on the Senate floor on July 10, saying, “We won’t make things better if we go backward toward even more federal control.” He added, “We won’t solve this problem by simply throwing more money at it, Band-Aids just won’t work here.” Democrats in the past have consistently maintained the position that they are only willing to work with Republicans on health care if repeal of the ACA is taken off the table (TAXDAY, 2017/05/11, C.1).
By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff