LGN Federal Relations Policy Brief: Federal Budget

Congressional leaders and the White House announced a budget deal at the end of July to raise federal spending limits for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 and outlined an informal agreement to avoid partisan policy riders, clearing a path for action on fiscal 2020 appropriations this fall. The Senate passed the budget bill by a vote of 67-28 after the House passed the same measure by a vote of 284-149. The two-year budget deal sets top-line spending levels, but Congress still needs to approve a package of 12 appropriations bills, or pass a temporary funding extension, to avoid a government shutdown when current funding expires at the end of this month.

Lawmakers will be returning on Monday, September 9th from their annual summer recess and will be turning immediately to the formidable task of funding the government by the end of the month. This leaves just three full legislative workweeks for […]

2019-09-03T10:46:58-05:00Sep 3, 2019|

LGN Federal Relations Policy Brief: Health Care & Prescription Drugs

The final four months of 2019 will be a “now-or-never” time for Congress to take substantive action to lower prescription drug prices. So far in the 116th Congress, the House and Senate have each taken actions on this issue. The House held nearly a dozen congressional hearings to examine the rise of drug prices, marked up and reported out about a half-dozen bills from three different committees. Of these, the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee dedicated more hearings on the issue and also seemed to have packaged together a broader bill than the other committees. The More Efficient Tools to Realize Information for Consumers (METRIC) Act (H.R. 2296), passed the E&C Committee last month shortly before the House left town for the August recess. In short, the METRIC Act would increase public disclosures of drug pricing information as well as more oversight over pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The bill […]

2019-08-19T17:59:50-05:00Aug 19, 2019|

LGN Federal Relations Policy Brief: Federal Transportation Funding

Although Congress is out of session for its August recess and passing a large bipartisan infrastructure package is less likely to become reality, other major transportation and infrastructure initiatives have a real opportunity to pass a divided Congress and be signed into law by the president.

America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) of 2019 and the annual Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (“T-HUD”) appropriations bill are the two key pieces of transportation legislation we see potential impact or opportunity for our clients. With August recess underway and the presidential campaign’s paralytic effect on the legislative process around the corner, the transportation policy landscape will be significantly shaped in late 2019. For Minnesota cities and counties, this legislation is where a number of critical infrastructure projects will get federal funding, from rural and suburban highways to urban transit systems.

America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) of 2019, otherwise known as the surface transportation reauthorization bill, […]

2019-08-19T17:50:24-05:00Aug 12, 2019|

LGN Federal Relations Policy Brief: Proposed rule change for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

LGN’s Federal Relations Group is closely monitoring the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) proposed rule change that was released by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) on July 24th, 2019. This proposed rule entitled “Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” would eliminate “broad-based categorical eligibility,” a voluntary standard that states can use to automatically qualify recipients of non-cash welfare assistance for SNAP benefits. Once enacted, this proposed rule would have significant direct impacts on state and local governments, families and children.

States currently have the flexibility to use broad-based categorical eligibility and 43 states chose to utilize this option. If enacted, the USDA’s proposed rule change would narrow categorical eligibility for SNAP. Under SNAP’s current categorical eligibility rules, states are not required to review a person’s total assets and can consider program applicants with incomes above 130 percent of the federal poverty level. This flexibility allows […]

2019-08-06T07:18:28-05:00Aug 6, 2019|

LGN’s Federal Relations Team Monitors Surprise Billing Legislation

LGN’s Federal Government Relations Group is closely monitoring the “surprise medical bills” legislation that is moving forward in the U.S. Senate and House with bipartisan support. These healthcare bills are noteworthy for two reasons. First, the bills could affect any Minnesotan with a self-insured employer-sponsored health plan. According to the ERISA Industry Committee, there are about 181 million Americans who get health care through their employer, and about 100 million of them are in self-insured plans.

Secondly, in a polarized political atmosphere and divided government, the “surprise medical bills” legislation is unique: it is significant healthcare policy with a chance of becoming law because there are bipartisan bills moving through both chambers of Congress and President Trump is publicly supportive. Further, adding pressure to the atmospherics around the bills, President Trump issued an executive order on June 24th to compel the disclosure of prices in health care. Among other things, the […]

2019-06-25T12:03:16-05:00Jun 25, 2019|
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