Issue: H.R. 6833, Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Act, 2023. (Vehicle: Affordable Insulin Now Act.) Question: On Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment.
Result: Passed in House, 230 to 201, 2 not voting. Agreed to earlier by the Senate (Senate Vote Number 351, 9-29-22). Became Public Law 117-180 (signed by the President, 9-30-22). Democrats only scored.
Freedom First Society: This CR extends unconstitutional Big Bother government for 11 weeks without any momentum to make desperately needed cuts. It sets the stage for an omnibus bill to fuel Big Bother still further, an omnibus that will bury the alarming detail.
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We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Bill Summary: In addition to the 11-week Continuing Resolution, H.R. 6833 included the Affordable Insulin vehicle, $12.3 billion for Ukraine military and economic aid, $1.8 billion in emergency funds to care for migrant border-crossers, and $1 billion to help low-income households with winter heating bills.
The measure also extended a variety of programs for the duration of the CR.
CRS Summary for old H.R. 6833 vehicle:
Passed House (03/31/2022)
Affordable Insulin Now Act
This bill limits cost-sharing for insulin under private health insurance and the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Specifically, the bill caps cost-sharing under private health insurance for a month’s supply of selected insulin products at $35 or 25% of a plan’s negotiated price (after any price concessions), whichever is less, beginning in 2023.
The bill caps cost-sharing under the Medicare prescription drug benefit for a month’s supply of covered insulin products at $35 beginning in 2023.
Currently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is testing a voluntary model under the Medicare prescription drug benefit (the Part D Senior Savings Model) in which the copayment for a month’s supply of insulin is capped at $35 through participating plans. The model is set to expire on December 31, 2025.
The bill also (1) further delays implementation of regulations relating to the treatment of certain Medicare prescription drug benefit rebates from drug manufacturers for purposes of federal anti-kickback laws, and (2) increases funding for the Medicare Improvement Fund.
FFS Analysis: Proponents of the Continuing Resolution would argue that it’s only 11 weeks to buy more time to finish the full year appropriation bills. We would point out that it completely ignores the urgency to begin rolling back unconstitutional programs and spending. It also sets the stage for a massive omnibus spending bill to finish off the appropriations year.
No one should seek to shut down the government, but responsible reps should insist on accompanying plans to return to constitutionally authorized government to get their vote. If enough reps would refuse business as usual there would be enough to begin the rollback that might justify a future CR. But major changes in Congress and pressure from an informed, determined electorate would be necessary for that to happen.
We conclude with just one excerpt from debates recorded in the Congressional Record (9-30-22):
Representative Kay Granger (R-Texas), ranking members of the House Appropriations Committee:
“I rise today in opposition to the Senate amendment to H.R. 6833, a short- term continuing resolution extending government funding through December 16. I oppose this CR for several reasons.
“First, we should be here addressing the border crisis, the energy crisis, and the inflation crisis. This bill does nothing to fix any of these issues. In fact, this bill actually bails out the Biden administration for their failures and provides additional appropriations to put a Band-Aid on some of these problems for a few more months….
“Second, it is unfortunate this bill will be rushed through the House today with just hours to spare to avoid a government shutdown. The American people continue to wonder why Congress can’t get its job done until the very last minute and why we don’t have more time to review legislation.”