From NCPA Legislative Director Brian Williams:
If you are in Washington on March 15, stop by our Capitol Hill briefing where we will analyze the new health reform bill. NCPA experts will break down the pros and cons of the American Health Care Act, the positive economic effects that will happen after we repeal Obamacare, and other ideas to minimize and reverse the damage done by Obamacare.
Here’s what else is going on in Washington:
- Breaking news: The economy added 235,000 jobs last month. More than 300,000 people returned to the workforce. And the unemployment rate still fell to 4.7%.
- The bulk of this week in Washington was consumed by health reform as the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare was introduced on Monday and is already progressing quickly through the legislative process.
- The House Ways and Means Committee spent 16 hours working through the tax provisions of the bill on Wednesday, while the Energy and Commerce Committee spent 27 hours working through the Medicaid and insurance portions of the bill.
- The next stop for the legislation is the House Budget Committee next week. If the Budget Committee approves the bill, it will go to the House floor for debate the week after.
- Yet the GOP health reform bill is having a hard time gaining traction. The Democrats are unified in their opposition, and the conservative end of the Republican party isn’t happy either.
- The President is in “sell mode” while the Speaker of the House took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves, and pitched the bill to his colleagues and the American people using a Power Point presentation.
- Conventional wisdom suggests the bill will pass the House of Representatives. Assuming no support from Democrats, the leadership can lose 21 GOP votes and still pass the bill. But the margin of error in the Senate is much thinner. The Republicans only hold a 2-vote majority in the Upper Chamber. And the Senate Parliamentarian (a staff position, subordinate to the elected Senators) holds a considerable amount of power over this process.
- Vice President Mike Pence is headed to Kentucky this weekend to speak directly with voters in a bid to sway Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) into supporting the bill. Sen. Paul has led a faction of conservative senators who oppose the health reform bill. Last week, he famously searched high-and-low around the Capitol to catch a glimpse of the elusive legislative draft.
- To date, the Congressional Budget Office has not published a “score” of the bill, which means Congress doesn’t know how the legislation will affect spending, the number of uninsured, or the downstream effects it will have on tax reform and overall budget issues. The CBO score is expected sometime next week.
- As mentioned above, we are presening our analysis of the health reform bill at a Capitol Hill briefing on March 15. We will be breaking down the effects on the economy from passing the American Health Reform Act, the job creation effects from repealing Obamacare, and suggesting several administrative actions that can help minimize and reverse the damage done by Obamacare.