1. The Senate on June 22 released its version of health care reform, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Highlights of the proposal include: block grants for Medicaid indexed with inflation, eliminating the insurance mandate, eliminating the opportunity for insurers to charge sick people more (as was allowed in the House version) and a delay of the Cadillac Tax to 2026. The proposal will face strong opposition and will require political legwork in order for the Republican caucus to be able to reach the 51 votes needed for passage.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Floor action on this bill was scheduled for this week, but postponed after it was clear there is Republican opposition, forcing a vote to take place after the July 4 break. We will continue to monitor this legislation, as well as the inclusion of the onerous “Cadillac Tax” that NECA is determined to defeat.
2. NECA, as a member of the Construction Procurement Coalition, has sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), regarding two specific amendments offered to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 (NDAA). The first, which the Coalition opposed, was an attempt to exempt indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts from limiting the number of bidders that may proceed to the second step of the design build process. The next amendment, supported by the coalition, promotes the ability for Department of Defense contractors to submit a summary of an audit written by a commercial auditor on the indirect costs placed on contractors.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Following the lengthy mark-up session, NECA will review the approved NDAA legislation as well as the finer points that affect our industry.
3. On June 28, 2017, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act – the 21st Century AIRR Act, H.R. 2997 was approved by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This NECA-supported legislation will reauthorize the FAA for six years and modernize the Air Traffic Control system.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The bill was passed with a NECA-supported amendment, Amendment #15 offered by Rep. Barletta (R-PA), Rep. Graves (R-MO), and Rep. Lipinski (D-IL), which would increase funding for the Airport Improvement Program. NECA also commends the committee for not approving Amendment #51 offered by Rep. Perry (R-PA), which would eliminate Davis-Bacon requirements for jobs under $150,000. Although the legislation passed the committee, there is still a long political road to ensure it has enough votes to pass the House. The bill is expected to be taken up for debate by the full House in late July. The authorization for FAA expiries at the end of September.