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House Postpones ACA Budget Bill Floor Fight

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House leaders could have brought the American Health Care Act bill up for a new vote this week, but they ended up deciding to pull the bill.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, chairman of the House Rules Committee, told Democrats on the committee about the decision on the bill, H.R. 1628, late Thursday, after the committee completed work on H.J. Res. 99, a one-week funding measure that’s supposed to keep the federal government going while the more conservative House Republicans, the more centrist House Republicans and the House Democrats come up with a longer-lasting compromise.

(Related: White House Unveils Trump’s First Tax-Cut Bid)

The Rules Committee packages legislation for action on the House floor.

Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass, pressed Sessions for an H.R. 1628 status update.

If adopted as written, H.R. 1628 would replace the Affordable Care Act income-based tax credit with an age-based tax credit, eliminate the penalties the ACA imposes on some individuals who lack health coverage and on some employers that fail to offer health coverage, and change other ACA rules and programs.

House leaders moved late Wednesday to add H.R. 1628 to this week’s list of bills slated for floor action, but Sessions said at the House Rules meeting that leaders would not bring the bill to the floor this week after all. He declined to give a clear answer about when or if the bill would return

 ”What we’re trying to do is allow the time to do it right,” Sessions said.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., told Sessions that every week of uncertainty rattles the health insurance market and causes problems for state governors.

 ”There is an urgency about health care,” Hastings said.

“As quickly as we can get there, we’re going to get there,” Sessions said.

Sessions said Hastings’ comments gave him a greater sense of urgency.

“There are people waiting,” Sessions said.

The Rules Committee ended up adopting a clean version of the one-week government funding measure. The committee left out an amendment, proposed by Rep. Steven King, R-Iowa, that called for immediately de-funding all Affordable Care Act programs. At press time, the measure already had more than enough votes to pass in the House.

— Read White House Still Pressing to Hold ACA Change Vote This Week on ThinkAdvisor.


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