Following the mid-term congressional elections, the legislative back burner is packed with a long list of things that Democratic leadership hope to achieve during the “lame duck” session once some steam is let out from the mid-term elections’ political pressure cooker.
The idea being that once control of each chamber is settled by voters, winners and losers might be more willing to take politically contentious votes.
NEED IT BY END OF YEAR
- Funding the government: Government funding will run dry in mid-December. Congress needs to put together and pass a massive omnibus spending package before the December 16 deadline. That will take up a lot of Capitol Hill attention. The Endocrine Society will work to ensure increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Endocrine Society will work to ensure increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- National Defense Authorization: Another major legislative issue is outside of the health arena but will take up time in Congress is action on the National Defense Authorization Act that was slated for consideration during the scrapped October session. This will distract from debate and passage of health legislation.
PROBABLE (BUT NO PROMISES)
- Insulin Affordability: Last Fall the House and Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which included a provision to implement a $35 a month cap on out-of-pocket expenses for insulin for people with Medicare. A provision that would have extended that cap to people under 65 with private insurance was removed, but senators on both sides of the aisle have expressed interest in revisiting. This will be the top priority for the Endocrine Society and will require finding at least 10 Republican senators willing to support.
- Hurricane help: Florida is going to need significant federal aid to recover from Hurricane Ian. The funding could get attached onto the omnibus funding package.
- Electoral College reform: Both chambers want to modernize the 19th-century Electoral Count Act, designed as a safeguard against future attempts to challenge fairly decided elections. But Senate Republicans are already opposed to the House Democratic legislative proposal, so this looks like it could become gridlocked.
- Marriage equality: The House already has passed its own same-sex marriage bill. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) is planning to bring up a bipartisan same-sex marriage deal after shelving the bill ahead of recess instead of risking a Republican filibuster. Chief sponsor Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) remains confident that this will pass. She and other backers are betting Republican support grows once the midterms are over.
- Tax extenders: There will be taxes on the table. Democrats want to revive the Child Tax Credit enhancement. Republicans want to revive a tax benefit for businesses that allowed them to immediately write off their research expenses. Those are just two items on a larger slate of tax breaks that could be in play in the lame duck, plus further incentives for retirement savings.
UNLIKELY (BUT WE’VE BEEN SURPRISED BEFORE)
- Special Diabetes Program: The Special Diabetes Program (SDP) has two parts. The first is funding for the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to support research on type 1 diabetes; the second is funding for type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment for Alaskan Native and American Indian communities. The program technically expires in 2023, but the omnibus funding bill could provide a vehicle to reauthorize the program this year. The Endocrine Society is advocating for a five-year reauthorization at $200 million a year for each program.
- COVID-19 and Monkeypox Aid: We expect another Democratic push for the long-stalled COVID-19 and Monkeypox aid money.