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Finance Committee Top 10 Wins of the 115th Congress (So Far)
With Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) at the helm, the Senate Finance Committee has already secured numerous legislative achievements this Congress.
He successfully fought for critical legislation that runs the gamut of the Finance Committee’s jurisdiction – the largest of any committee in either chamber of Congress. From writing the most comprehensive tax overhaul in over three decades, to dismantling Obamacare and bipartisan victories including a 10-year CHIP extension, Hatch’s years of lawmaking experience have made him one of the most effective legislators in Washington.
Hatch is continuing to fight for polices that ensure a strong economy, support free and fair trade, and fix our struggling healthcare system. Take a look at the Finance Committee’s top 10 wins of the 115th Congress so far:
1. Reforming America’s broken tax code
In December 2017, Hatch secured the largest tax overhaul in more than 30 years, providing middle-class tax relief, leveling the playing field for small businesses, and modernizing our tax code for the 21st century. Just a month into the new tax code, businesses are already driving their tax savings into their workforces in the form of higher wages and bigger benefits – and this investment is just beginning.
2. Dismantling Obamacare
The tax overhaul also repealed the burdensome individual mandate tax, which Hatch has advocated to get rid of since Obamacare first became law. This tax hurts low-income Americans – nearly 80 percent of households that are hit with the tax make less than $50,000 per year. Hatch included a provision to repeal the individual mandate tax during the tax reform markup last fall, which later became law. Repealing this regressive tax strikes the core of Obamacare.
Additionally, Hatch secured delays of three of Obamacare’s most egregious taxes: the Medical Device Tax through 2019, the Cadillac tax through 2021 and the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) in 2019. Delaying these taxes helps to increase jobs and lower insurance costs, encouraging Americans to innovate as they keep more of their hard-earned money.
3. Extending CHIP for 10 years
Hatch created the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) with former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) more than two decades ago. The program, which bridges the gap for families who don’t qualify for programs like Medicaid but still cannot afford private insurance, is successful and financially responsible, and continues to receive bipartisan support.
Earlier this year, Congress enacted a six-year CHIP extension – the longest in the program’s history – based in large part on a bipartisan agreement Hatch struck with Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The Bipartisan Budget Act added four more years of CHIP funding, ensuring that the program is funded through FY2027.
4. Protecting vulnerable children
The Family First Prevention Services Act will help keep more children safely with their families instead of placing them in foster care. This legislation supports states in providing evidence-based services to prevent children from entering foster care, encourages states to place children with foster families instead of in group homes, and reduces bureaucracy for and provides help to relatives so more children can live with family if they must be removed from their homes. Hatch introduced the Family First Prevention Services Act in June 2016, along with Wyden and committee members Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
5. Improving health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions
The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 will improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions while lowering Medicare costs and streamlining care coordination services in a fiscally sound manner.
This critical legislation is the culmination of years of bipartisan collaboration. Following Hatch’s creation of a bipartisan working group, stakeholder feedback and hearings, the CHRONIC Care Act advanced from the Finance Committee last year and unanimously passed the Senate in September 2017.
6. Reauthorizing the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program
Hatch successfully negotiated the inclusion of the Strong Families Act of 2017 in the recent budget package, a bill introduced by Finance Committee Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and cosponsored by many members of the Committee. This bill funds the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program through FY2022 and provides states with grants to support evidence-based home visiting programs for at-risk families, particularly women and children. This proposal received strong bipartisan support.
7. Extending key expired tax provisions
Hatch’s 2015 PATH Act bill made a variety of tax extenders permanent, and the recent budget package included several bipartisan tax extenders that Hatch championed. These extenders include relief for families, incentives for energy production and conservation, and incentives for job creation and innovation.
The bill Hatch introduced last year was the foundation for the bipartisan provisions that just became law, but there’s still more work to do.
8. Addressing social and public health challenges
The Social Impact Partnership Act will support innovative public-private partnerships to address critical social and public health challenges. As a result of this law, states will identify key social challenges to address and the results they seek to achieve, and the federal government will pay if a rigorous, independent evaluation shows that they achieved the outcome. Hatch introduced this legislation with Finance Committee Member Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) in 2015.
9. Repealing IPAB
The Protecting Seniors’ Act to Medicare Act of 2017 repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). IPAB, which was created by the Affordable Care Act, has the potential to make major Medicare decisions, yet is governed by unaccountable bureaucrats.
To protect seniors’ healthcare decisions, Finance Committee member Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act of 2017. Democrats have also supported eliminating IPAB.
10. Medicare improvements and reforms
Hatch secured improvements and reforms to Medicare to ensure seniors continue to receive quality health care for years to come. These changes include increasing how much high-income beneficiaries pay in Part B and Part D premiums in order to improve Medicare’s financial outlook and targeted Medicare Part B improvements, including expanding access to in-home treatments for patients.
The Bipartisan Budget Act also includes a package of bipartisan provisions known as Medicare extenders. These Medicare provisions are: Geographic Practice Cost index; Medicare therapy cap repeal; Medicare ambulance services; increased hospital payment for certain low-volume hospitals; Medicare-dependent hospital (MDH) program; funding for quality measure endorsement; funding outreach and assistance for low-income programs; and funding of home health rural add-ons.
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