House Could Delay August Recess for Senate Health Care Bill

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on July 14 that the House, at this time, has no plans to delay its August recess. Senate leadership announced a few days prior that it would be delaying its recess until the third week of August to tackle health care reform and other legislative matters (TAXDAY, 2017/07/12, C.1).

According to McCarthy, “there is no scheduled change,” in the House’s planned recess, but it could potentially stay longer to address the Senate’s health care bill (TAXDAY, 2017/07/14, C.1). ” If we are still in session when we are given the health care bill, we will stay,” McCarthy said.

The Senate health care bill faces an uphill battle in both chambers and can only afford to lose two Senate Republican votes. Democrats, and several Republicans, have remained outspoken against the measure to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) as well as several related taxes.

Republican Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Susan Collins, R-Me., both expressed dissatisfaction with the revised bill on July 13. Collins said in a tweet she would vote no on the motion to proceed on the bill, while Paul said he believed the updated version is worse.

Democrats remained united in their opposition toward the measure following its release. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized the bill for providing tax cuts to the wealthy. “The GOP tax cuts for the rich mean health care cuts for women and low-income Americans,” he said.

The revised version, unlike the original, does retain the ACA -enacted net investment income tax (NIIT) and the additional Medicare tax, both geared toward higher-income individuals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said there will be a vote on the bill during the week of July 17. Changes are expected to the bill during the debate and amendment process.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

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