1. The House is scheduled to vote on the American Healthcare Act, the Republican repeal of Obamacare, this evening. While the plan has been lauded by Republican leadership as well as the Trump administration, some are skeptical that the bill has enough votes to pass. Many on the far-right Freedom Caucus and those in the moderate Republican group, Tuesday Group, voiced their disapproval.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA will monitor the vote count of this bill and will continue to work with Republican leadership to form a healthcare system that is not only beneficial to individuals but to businesses as well.
2. The Trump administration’s “skinny” budget has proposed a massive funding cut to the Department of Transportation, the Army Corps of Engineers, Water Infrastructure programs and other important federal construction agencies.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The budget blueprint proposes cuts to many current DOT programs, cutting the agency’s total budget by 13 percent ($2.4 billion). The cuts include reductions for the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment program, Essential Air Service, funding for Amtrak long-distance service, and elimination of the $500 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. Cuts to other agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers' civil-works budget would be as high as $1 billion, or 16%. EPA spending would be reduced by $2.3 billion, or 31%, but water infrastructure state revolving funds (SRFs) would get a $4-million increase, to a total of $2.3 billion. Members of Congress from both parties who serve on the House Appropriations Committee, the committee of jurisdiction for the actual funding, have concerns that the president’s budget would pass a committee vote in its current state.
3. President Trump’s second nominee for the position of labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on March 22. The questioning of President George W. Bush’s nominee to the National Labor Relations Board began with strong endorsements from Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and then proceeded with typical partisan questioning.
NECA’s Look Ahead:
The nomination of Mr. Acosta is a welcome change from the administration’s former nominee Mr. Puzder, who was regarded as a questionable choice regarding his views on labor issues. NECA is optimistic that Mr. Acosta will be approved and we look forward to developing a strong and healthy relationship with both he and his staff.