HELP Members Request Hearing on Hurricane Impact

A bipartisan group of senators have written to the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee requesting hearings on the health and education challenges facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The letter was led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and signed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.).

Black to Give Up Budget Gavel

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) plans to step down as Chairman of the House Budget Committee in the coming weeks. While she will not vacate her congressional seat, Black announced her decision to hand over leadership of the Committee as she devotes more time to her campaign for governor of Tennessee. While her successor has not yet been chosen, Steve Womack (R-Ark.) is viewed by many as the early front-runner for the position.

Harper to Retire At End of Term

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) has announced his plans to retire at the end of his term. Rep. Harper has served five terms in Congress and will not be seeking reelection so that he can spend more time with his family. He recently was named chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee, which conducts investigations into matters under the jurisdiction of the full committee, including food and drug safety, public health, and research.

H.R. 1 and Your Taxes: Primer for Health Professionals

Hart Health Strategies Inc. recently put together a primer for health professionals to provide a general overview of the tax reform legislation as well as highlight several key items. Of course, these are preliminary observations and calculations based on the newly enacted legislation. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will need to fully interpret and implement the new tax code to provide further clarity. Therefore, for your own personal situation, please consult your accountant or tax professional.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing “The Opioid Crisis: An Examination of How We Got Here and How We Move Forward;” 10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; January 9

Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the anticipated nomination of Alex Michael Azar II to be Secretary of Health and Human Services; 10:00 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.; January 9

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee markup of H.R. 4675, the “Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2017;” 10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.; January 10

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee executive session to consider nominations, including Brett Giroir, M.D., to be Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services; time and location TBD; January 11

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

S.2278 (introduced by Sen. Pat Roberts): A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide grants to improve health care in rural areas; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

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