Congress Raises Debt Ceiling and Ends Government Shutdown
On October 16 , the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) to restore government funding and raise the nation’s debt limit. ASCRS and our coalition partners in the medical community are now redoubling efforts to have the SGR repealed by the end of the year. ASCRS is asking eyeContacts to send an email to your representative asking that he or she sign a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter circulated by Reps. Bill Flores (R-TX) and Dan Maffei (D-NY) to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging action on SGR Repeal and Replacement immediately. There are currently 14 co-signers on the letter—seven from each party
The CR passed this week retroactively funds the government beginning from October 1—when the shutdown began—through January 15, 2014 and raises the debt limit until February 7. Congressional leaders from both parties have pledged to work toward a long-term budget agreement that may include entitlement reforms by early December.
The timing of the CR’s expiration throws into question the path forward for a repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) or a temporary fix to prevent the 24.7% cut scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2014—before the CR expires. Congress could move the repeal or fix forward as a stand-alone measure before the end of the year. While there have been no formal announcements of what might be included in the long-term budget agreement Congressional leaders hope to strike, House Ways and Means Health Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) indicated last week that if entitlement reforms were discussed, he hoped it would include the SGR.
In the meantime, the Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees are still expected to release their own proposals to repeal and replace the SGR by the end of October.
Please use ASCRS’ eyeContact Action Center to send an instant message to your representatives asking they sign the letter to prioritize action to repeal the SGR.
If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Allison Dickert, manager PAC and grassroots, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-591-2220.