WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a statement following the HELP Committee Chair’s announcing the release of the Primary Care and Health Workforce Expansion Act and intention for the committee to consider the legislation in a markup next week.
“This is irresponsible legislating. Republican committee members saw this text for the first time after its public release. It has no scores, provisions from outside the committee’s jurisdiction, converts discretionary spending into mandatory spending, and dramatically increases federal funding in some programs by over 300 percent. None of these programs contain Hyde protections. This is partisan legislation that cannot pass the Senate,” said Dr. Cassidy. “There is already reauthorization legislation that unanimously passed out of House E&C committee, has been introduced in the Senate and is endorsed by community health centers. That is the bill we should mark up next week.”
This comes after Cassidy introduced legislation last week to reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME), which all expire on September 30th. Cassidy’s legislation mirrors that which the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee passed in May with a unanimously bipartisan vote of 49-0.
During a HELP Labor markup last month, the first partisan one held by the committee since 2009, Cassidy sounded the alarm that unreasonable demands and committee time being used to pursue partisan priorities with no chance of passing Congress was impeding the committee from making needed progress on health care reauthorizations.