115th Congress Sworn In

On Tuesday, January 3rd, members of both the House and Senate were sworn in to kick-off the 115th  Congress. In the House, Paul Ryan was easily re-elected Speaker and Rep. Nancy Pelosi will continue in her role as House Minority Leader.  Following swearing in, the Senate Republicans released their slate of committee assignments for the 115th Congress. Key Chairs of House and Senate Committees that have jurisdiction over various health IT policy areas and programs are listed below:

Armed Services: Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
Energy & Commerce: Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
Ways & Means: Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Appropriations: Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
Homeland Security: Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX)
Oversight:  Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Veterans’ Affairs: Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)

Appropriations: Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Armed Services: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Commerce: Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Finance:  Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:  Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Homeland Security: Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Veterans Affairs: Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

In the first week of the new Congress, a number of key Committees scheduled future confirmation hearings with Trump nominees including HHS Secretary-designate Rep. Tom Price (R-GA). Rep. Price is slated to be vetted by the Senate HELP Committee on January 18th, although a hearing with the Senate Finance Committee, which makes the official confirmation vote for the HHS Secretary, has not been scheduled.

The Senate, also this week, voted along party lines to begin debate on a budget resolution that would set the stage for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  A procedure called budget reconciliation requires only a simple majority instead of the usual 60-vote threshold that must be met to advance legislation in the Senate.  Assuming passage in the Senate, the resolution would then head to the House where it is expected to be passed with strong support from the Republican majority. Relevant Committees would then develop the specific ACA repeal policies to meet the requirements of the budget resolution’s “reconciliation instructions.”

Stay tuned for more updates on key developments unfolding in the new 115th Congress.