WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Tuesday introduced an amendment to extend the deadline for budget reconciliation instructions until March 3, 2017, and ensure a responsible process for replacing President Obama’s health care law as quickly as possible.
“This week, Congress will pass the legislative tools necessary to initiate the repeal process and begin reversing the negative effects of the Affordable Care Act," Corker said. "But as President-elect Trump has stated, repeal and replace should take place simultaneously, and this amendment will give the incoming administration more time to outline its priorities after its chief health care official assumes office and fully reviews the tools currently at his disposal. By extending the deadline for budget reconciliation instructions until March, Congress and the incoming administration will each have additional time to get the policy right. Repealing President Obama’s health care law and replacing it with a responsible alternative is a top priority, and by exercising due diligence we can create a stable transition to an open health care marketplace that provides far greater choice and more affordable plans for the American people.”
Title II of the 2017 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 3) instructs House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to report out legislation that would reduce the budget deficit by at least $1 billion each over the next ten years. The resulting reconciliation legislation is expected to include language to repeal the ACA and is due no later than January 27, 2017. If confirmed, President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Health and Human Services Administration, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), will not assume his post until January 20 at the earliest, a mere seven days before the deadline for reconciliation legislation. The amendment would extend this deadline until Friday, March 3, 2017, allowing the incoming secretary adequate time to review what the Trump administration can repeal and replace administratively versus legislatively, and ensure that Congress puts in place a responsible timeline for replacing the law.