THE DAILY WHIP: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2012

House Meets At: First Vote Predicted: Last Vote Predicted:

10:00 a.m.: Morning Hour
12:00 p.m.: Legislative Business

Fifteen “One Minutes” per side

2:00 - 2:30 p.m. 2:30 - 3:00 p.m.

**Members are advised that today, the House is only expecting one vote series.  The House will complete general debate on H.R. 5 today, and consider all amendments to H.R. 5 tomorrow. 

H.Res. 591Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 5 - Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act (Rep. Gingrey - Energy and Commerce/Judiciary/Ways and Means/Rules) (One Hour of debate) The Rules Committee has recommended a structured Rule that provides for six hours of general debate equally divided among the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Judiciary and the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means. The Rule allows six amendments, each debatable for 10 minutes equally divided between the offeror and an opponent. It also provides one motion to recommit, with or without instructions. Lastly, it waives all points of order against the legislation.

The Rules committee once again rejected a motion by Ms. Slaughter to consider the bill under an open Rule. The committee also rejected a motion by Mr. Hastings of Florida that would make in order an amendment by Rep. Poe that would prevent the bill from preempting any state law that is in effect on the date of the bill’s enactment. The Rules committee rejected amendments offered by both parties, once again breaking promises of openness from the GOP Leadership.

Begin Consideration of H.R. 5 - Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act (Rep. Gingrey - Energy and Commerce/Judiciary/Ways and Means/Rules)  (One Hour of debate) The bill repeals provisions of the Affordable Care Act relating to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and makes several changes to current law affecting medical malpractice lawsuits. 

The measure caps compensatory damages, establishes a statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice suits and limits attorney compensation in health care lawsuits. In addition, the legislation repeals IPAB, the 15-person board tasked with making cost-cutting recommendations if Medicare spending exceeds target growth rates. The board’s savings recommendations – which cannot include rationing, premium increases or benefit cuts – take effect unless the House and Senate override them by clearing legislation to achieve equivalent savings. CBO projects that, due in part to the Affordable Care Act’s role in slowing Medicare’s growth rate, the IPAB will not be triggered during this budget window. 

The bill makes it more difficult for victims of medical malpractice to receive just compensation, undermines the Medicare guarantee and does nothing to create jobs.  This bill represents yet another attempt by Republicans to abandon any attempt to work with Democrats to create jobs and reduce the deficit. And, like the Republican targeting of federal employees, the bill singles out a very small subset of Americans – in this case victims of medical malpractice – to shoulder the burden while the wealthiest among us are not asked to contribute their fair share. Members are urged to VOTE NO on H.R. 5.

The Rule makes in order 6 amendments, each debatable for 10 minutes, equally divided between the offeror and an opponent.  All of the amendments to H.R. 5 will be considered tomorrow.  

Bill Text for H.R. 5:
PDF Version
Background for H.R. 5:
House Report (HTML Version)

Suspension (1 Bill)

  1. Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 886 - United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act (Rep. Womack - Financial Services)

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Thursday, March 22: The House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. The House is expected to complete consideration of H.R. 5 - Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act (Rep. Gingrey - Energy and Commerce/Judiciary/Ways and Means/Rules).

 
The Daily Quote

“With hours to go before the budget's rollout, hard-line conservatives spent Monday mounting an eleventh-hour charge against the proposed $1.028 trillion spending level and the amount of time that the plan would take to balance the budget, according to several GOP aides familiar with the situation…The situation has the potential to end up much like the bungled transportation legislation, with leadership dropping a bill before rounding up the votes to pass it. In the Budget Committee, it would take only three disenfranchised Republicans to sink the bill if, as expected, all Democrats vote against it.”

-     The Hill, 3/20/12