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Healthcare Legislation

The Chambers of Congress has found a way to fund the government through early December by passing a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR). This decision from the congress came just a few days before the deadline to avoid the government shutdown. The bill was later signed by the President Obama to turn it into law.

The short term CR will provide adequate temporary funding at the existing funding levels through December 9, 2016. Congress members left Washington to their states/districts immediately after the voting. The Congress members will stay in their respective districts/states until the Presidential election is over.

The Congress had wished to conclude the negotiations on short-term CR by early September. However, they had to put their plans on hold due to disagreement between the parties. While some members wanted to help the city of Flint, Michigan, by including them in the emergency funding, the rest disagreed.

The citizens of Flint were severely concerned about the presence of lead in their water supply. However, the parties finally reached an agreement where they decided to include Flint’s funding in a future legislation, which will be only acted upon in a “lame duck” session after the election.

Flint is not just the concern for Congress, as they will have to find ways to fund the government after December 2016. Reports indicate that Congress’ decision on how long to provide the funding to the government will have great impact on the upcoming election as well. The chances for the Republican-controlled Congress to approve either some or all 12-appropriation Bills or to extend the CR are higher, if Hillary Clinton wins.

The Republican Party will retain the control over both the Congress houses, if Donald Trump, the Republican nominee wins. In such a scenario, the chances for another short-term CR to pass are comparatively much lower. Moreover, this will allow the Republicans to easily advance with their proposed health care agendas.

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Short Term CR

There is also an ongoing negotiation between the Senate and House on their differences concerning the House-passed H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act. This act will streamline the approval process for new devices and drugs of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will bring more devices and therapies to the market. Furthermore, the H.R. 6 act can also increase the funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The leaders of both Chambers hope to conclude the negotiations and to pass an FDA/NIH during the lame duck session.