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Old 04-06-2017, 09:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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ITA Update 4/6/2017

Member Update - April -- 2017

FDA Proposed Rules -- Regarding the two proposed rules pending at the FDA, no news is good news. The number of notices, proposed rules or final rules the FDA publishes in the Federal Register is a good gauge of overall activity at the agency. Since President Trump was elected, the volume of paper coming out of the FDA has dropped to a trickle.
FDA staff are very tight-lipped so there is no way to determine what exactly is going on with respect to specific proposals such as the two rules we are awaiting. It is safe to say that most regulatory initiatives seem to be on hold at least until the Senate confirms the new FDA commissioner.
President Trump's nominee for commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottieb's confirmation hearing before the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was scheduled for first week in April but a full Senate vote had not been scheduled. The fight over the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Neil Gorsuch has captured practically all of the Senate's attention over the past week. However, It is widely speculated Dr. Gottieb will be confirmed. Then perhaps we will learn a little more regarding the fate of these two rules.

What is to become of the Tan Tax? -- There is an old adage in Washington that says once the government starts giving things away, it is virtually impossible to take them back. In fact, in U.S. history there is not a single example of a Federal entitlement program (of which Obamacare is one) ever being repealed. After seven years of Obamacare with approximately 20 million more Americans receiving government subsidized healthcare or enrolled in Medicaid, President Trump and the Republican majority on Capitol Hill have a formidable task in assembling a majority to repeal and replace the newest entitlement program.
Many are not giving up hope, however! There is talk all over Capitol Hill and from the White House of the need to get the disagreeing factions of the Republican majority together and craft a bill sooner rather than later. The President has detailed VP Mike Pence to take the lead on Capitol Hill to try and broker a deal between the factions in the GOP. With a two week recess beginning April 7th, time is running out for a deal in the short term.
The complicated budget reconciliation process where a simple majority is needed to pass legislation in the Senate (instead of the 60 vote super majority) is still in play and is a powerful tool that surely the Republicans will not waste.
On the other hand, in the wake of the defeat two weeks ago of the House Republicans' bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, some Republican insiders think the best strategy is to move on to another of President Trump's signature issues --comprehensive tax reform. Unfortunately the inability to repeal Obamacare and the big savings that would have resulted only makes tax reform more difficult.
One of the many virtues of the House bill was the savings that would have been generated with the repeal of Obamacare --- hundreds of billions over the next decade. If Repeal and Replace doesn't happen first, the Congress will either have to cut taxes less or come up with additional revenue to please the deficit-hawks in Congress. Obviously the Tan Tax is only one small piece of a very complicated puzzle.
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