On January 5, the House passed the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017” (H.R. 26), streamlining the process for Congressional review and rejection of administrative agency rules, including a 10-year sunset provision for rules that Congress has not expressly approved.
In a late night “vote-a-rama” held January 11-12, the Senate approved the FY2017 budget (S. Con. Res. 3), which, absent Presidential veto, will enable Congress to pass budget reconciliation legislation immune to Senate filibuster. Section 2001 directs assigned committees to report proposed ACA reconciliation bills to the Budget Committee by January 27, and requires the Budget Committee then to send to the full Senate “a reconciliation bill carrying out all such recommendations without any substantial revision.”
However, the big story was open dissent from any Senate plan to repeal the ACA without at least a consensus substitute bill, expressed most materially by Senator Lamar Alexander (Tennessee), chairman of the HELP Committee- i.e., Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Others sounding similar notes included Senators Cassidy (Louisiana), Collins (Maine), Corker (Tennessee), Murkowski (Alaska), Paul (Kentucky) and Portman (Ohio). The loss of those votes for quick repeal, even by budget reconciliation, would require the majority to recruit seven or more minority party Senators. That seems unlikely. Nevertheless, a wide range of repeal bills continue to be filed. Here’s a representative, but not exhaustive, list.
H.R. 394, introduced January 10 and referred to Ways and Means, would repeal the ACA provision that revised the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit HSA expenses for over-the-counter medications. See also S. 85, introduced January 11 and referred to the Finance Committee.
H.R. 370, a full repeal bill, was introduced January 9 and referred to nine committees.
H.R. 314, a partial repeal bill, was introduced January 5 and referred to three committees.
H.J. Res. 21, amending the Constitution to forbid Congress to tax the failure to purchase a good or service, was introduced January 6 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee. This amendment would reverse the Supreme Court’s approval of the ACA individual mandate.