Advocacy Roundup – Dec. 11-Dec. 31
Congress Passes Comprehensive Tax Reform
On December 20, the US House of Representatives voted to finalize comprehensive tax reform legislation prior to sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. The House had voted on this bill the day prior; however, when the bill was sent to the Senate for a final vote, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled several minor provisions out-of-order. The necessary revisions were made and the Senate voted on the legislation early in the morning on December 20. The House then passed the revised version of the bill. President Trump had endorsed the legislation and signed the bill into law on December 22. No Democrats supported the bill in either chamber. Republicans are claiming a major victory in passing the first comprehensive tax reform bill since 1986 and see this as a boost to their 2018 electoral hopes. Learn more about the tax reform legislation by visiting the Academy’s Government Relations News home page.
American Academy of Audiology PAC Supports Chairman Michael Burgess
The American Academy of Audiology PAC supported Congressman Michael Burgess, the Chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee, at a fundraising reception on December 11. The event was co-hosted by several member organizations of the Patients’ Access to Responsible Care Alliance (PARCA), a coalition of non-physician providers groups of which the Academy is a member. The E&C Health Subcommittee, as overseen by Chairman Burgess, helped advance the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Act and the Chairman has been supportive of many initiatives proposed by non-physician providers groups throughout his tenure in Congress. The Academy looks forward to continuing to work with Chairman Burgess throughout the 115th Congress.
Congress Avoids Government Shutdown
Congress passed a short-term government funding bill late on December 21, avoiding an impending shutdown of the federal government. The bill extends funding until January 19, when Congress will have to find a long-term solution to funding the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. It is highly likely that Congress will use that funding bill to tackle several major issues that were passed over this time around, including stabilization of the Affordable Care Act and reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has been extended only through March. Additionally, this continuing resolution extends a federal surveillance program and waives automatic cuts to Medicare which were anticipated after the large deficit increase in the tax reform bill. Other issues that Congress will have to address in the new year include the DREAM Act, a popular Obama-era program providing legal protections for certain young undocumented immigrants, and an $81 billion disaster aid package to aid in the recovery from hurricanes that decimated Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico earlier this year that was passed through the House but not the Senate.
Get Involved: PAC Donations and the Grassroots Advocacy Network
Contributions to the Academy’s PAC go directly towards supporting the campaigns of members of Congress who are committed to advancing hearing healthcare and audiology initiatives. The Academy’s PAC activities are funded entirely by contributions from Academy members allowing Academy representatives to attend events, political updates, and receptions featuring key members of Congress to advocate for the profession of audiology on Capitol Hill.
Congress will return in 2018 with a full agenda. Please consider making a donation to allow the PAC to continue to support our advocacy efforts in the new year. Click here to learn more about the PAC and make your annual gift.
If you are interested in getting more involved in advocacy in the new year, join the Grassroots Advocacy Network to receive frequent advocacy updates and learn more about how to become an advocate.