May 13, 2013
In this update:
On Capitol Hill: The Way Ahead on Debt Ceiling Negotiations
House Republicans have announced a special two-hour conference meeting to be held this week to discuss the way ahead on debt ceiling negotiations. The meeting is scheduled for the afternoon of May 15 in the Capitol, and members will discuss what posture they believe leadership should take in negotiations with Democrats on whether to raise the debt limit.
According to Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, the meeting is being held to begin the discussion with members about the best way to increase the debt limit consistent with the Boehner rule. The so-called Boehner rule, which has been House Republicans’ starting point in debt limit negotiations, states that any increase in the debt limit has to be accompanied by equal or greater spending reductions or entitlement changes.
The meeting is scheduled for four days before the expiration of the current debt limit extension, but the Treasury Department has the flexibility to move funds around to defer default for a time. This could buy Congress until the end of the summer or later to approve an extension.
Republicans are eager to devise a solution that avoids default while also satisfying their rank and file’s desire for spending reductions. However, many members realize that discretionary spending has been cut thin already and leaves little room for more reductions. As a result, the idea has surfaced to tie a debt ceiling increase to a tax overhaul, although the logistics have yet to be worked out and leadership is not necessarily in favor.
The Student Right To Know Before You Go Act
The legislation would streamline existing institutional reporting requirements to give students and their families more tools to easily compare graduation rates, student loan debt, employment prospects and potential future earnings as they make important decisions about higher education. The information, which generally is already reported by colleges and universities to a variety of federal, state and other agencies, also will give policymakers the ability to better assess the effectiveness of various government-backed educational programs. Similar bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House by Representatives Duncan Hunter of California and Robert Andrews of New Jersey.
For more information on The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act, visit http://www.scribd.com/doc/140382459/Student-Right-to-Know-Before-You-Go-Act.
Virginia Public Service Week
Governor McDonnell proclaimed May 5–11, 2013 as Virginia Public Service Week, to recognize the dedication and hard work of state employees in serving the citizens of the Commonwealth. The Governor commended state agencies for their efforts to recognize and honor the work of state employees.
To view the proclamation, visit http://www.governor.virginia.gov/OurCommonwealth/Proclamations/viewproc.cfm?id=324.
Congressional Members Express Support for Expanding Medicaid
On Friday, members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation including, Representatives Robert "Bobby" Scott, Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly, sent a letter to Governor McDonnell urging him to work closely with the members of the newly established Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) to take advantage of the increased federal funding the Commonwealth is entitled to under the Affordable Care Act by expanding the Medicaid program.
To view a copy of the letter, visit http://bobbyscott.house.gov/images/pdf/Letter%20to%20Gov.%20McDonnell%20on%20Medicaid%20Expansion.130510.pdf.
Children’s Services: CHA Letter to CMS Regarding Exchanges
On May 6, Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) provided a comment letter to CMS urging the agency to consider the unique coverage needs of children in consumer assistance programs under the Affordable Care Act. The letter was submitted in response to an April 5 proposed rule that implements standards for Navigators and non-Navigator consumer assistance personnel (also called in-person assistors) in federally facilitated and state partnership Exchanges. This proposed rule also implements standards for federally funded non-Navigator assistance programs in state-based Exchanges.
Specific concerns highlighted in the Association letter to CMS include:
In addition, CHA and allied child health organizations submitted joint comments to CMS. This letter also emphasizes the importance of addressing children’s coverage needs in the training for consumer assistance personnel.
Executive Branch Media Talks
President Obama's Weekly Video Address
Governor McDonnell’s "Ask the Governor" Call-in Radio Show
State & Local Government Meetings
Visit the following links for information on official state and local government meetings open to the public.
To view the university and health system’s legislative priorities, updates, legislative tracking lists, and more… go to the VCU Office of Government Relations’ website.
The next update will be available during the week of May 19, 2013. For questions regarding this information, please contact VCU Office of Government Relations at (804) 828-1235 or by e-mail.
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