Enzi Requests Vice President Find and Submit Missing HHS Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today wrote to Vice President Joe Biden to request that he take immediate action to formally transmit regulations implementing part of the new health care law from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  According to HHS, the regulations were delivered to the Vice President’s office in November of 2010, but were never delivered to the Senate Parliamentarian.

“The Administration has failed to submit to the Senate a recent regulation implementing part of the new health care law. I request that you take immediate action to formally transmit this rule, as this failure prevents the Senate from considering and debating the merits of this regulation,” wrote Senator Enzi.  “The Senate Parliamentarian has confirmed that they have not received the rule, which should have been transmitted by the Vice President, in your capacity as President of the United States Senate.  As a result, the Parliamentarian is unable to refer the rule to the committee of jurisdiction.”

Senator Enzi noted that late last year, the Department of Health and Human Services published an interim final rule in the Federal Register titled, “Health Insurance Issuers Implementing Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) Requirements Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”  On November 22, 2010, HHS transmitted this regulation to both the Vice President and then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  On December 1, 2010, the House of Representatives filed an executive communication in the Congressional Record, formally acknowledging receipt of this rule.  To date, the Senate has never filed a similar communication.

“This denies senators their right to file Resolutions of Disapproval and utilize procedures established under the Congressional Review Act to review new regulations,” Senator Enzi wrote.  “This is especially troubling, since this rule has the potential to eliminate hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, undermine efforts to detect and prevent health care fraud, and discourage investments that could improve health care quality and reduce costs.  I was disturbed to see recent press reports indicating that that the Administration may disregard the law and not submit this regulation to the U.S. Senate.  I would urge you to determine why this regulation has not been formally submitted to the Senate and take all necessary steps to rectify this problem immediately.”  

You can read the full letter to the Vice President here.

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