Kaiser Health News – As control of the Senate readies to shift and fallout continues from a pro-Trump mob’s assault on the Capitol, the incoming Biden administration contends with the shifting political landscape.
The events of the last 48 hours — Tuesday’s Democratic takeover of the Senate and Wednesday’s mob violence at the Capitol by President Trump supporters — fundamentally altered the trajectory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidency two weeks before his hand touches the bible. … What does this mean in the short term? For starters, it is likely to diminish (but not eliminate) opposition to Mr. Biden’s cabinet picks, although big fights loom. (Thrush, 1/8)
The outlook for Democrats’ health care priorities was boosted by the party’s two final Senate victories in Georgia this week, yet exactly what the party may accomplish remains to be seen. President-elect Joe Biden said in a statement Wednesday that “the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill passed in December was just a down payment,” signaling that another pandemic response bill is on tap. (McIntire and Clason, 1/7)
While Democrats will have a majority, it would be a narrow 50-50 majority with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking any ties, leaving the margin of error very slim.
However, Democrats could use a parliamentary procedure called reconciliation that lets them bypass a legislative filibuster for budgetary bills and pass certain pieces of legislation via a simple majority. Here are three health policy areas where Democrats could have legislative success—as well as one in which experts say that is unlikely. (King, 1/6)
The president-elect and his team are setting higher expectations for a legislative agenda now that his party controls Congress. Efforts like expansion of the Affordable Care Act and an ambitious overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws are more likely than they were with the Senate in Republican control.
Several immigration advocacy groups issued statements urging Mr. Biden to quickly put the Democratic gains to use. … The first big test of Mr. Biden’s congressional efforts is likely to be another coronavirus relief bill that provides more stimulus for the economy, additional aid to individuals and businesses, and extra funding for vaccine distribution and other pandemic responses. (Tankersley and Shear, 1/7)
The party split in Congress is so slim that, even with Democrats technically in the majority, passing major health care legislation will be extremely difficult. So speculation about President-elect Joe Biden’s health agenda has focused on the things he can accomplish using executive authority.
Although there is a long list of things he could do, even longer is the list of things he is being urged to undo — actions taken by President Donald Trump.
While Trump was not able to make good on his highest-profile health-related promises from his 2016 campaign — including repealing the Affordable Care Act and broadly lowering prescription drug prices — his administration did make substantial changes to the nation’s health care system using executive branch authority. And many of those changes are anathema to Democrats, particularly those aimed at hobbling the ACA. (Rovner, 1/8)
Surprise Democratic victories in Georgia’s two runoff elections this week will give Democrats control of the Senate, which means they will be in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time since 2010. Although the narrow majorities in the House and Senate will likely not allow Democrats to pass major expansions to health programs, it will make it easier to do things such as pass fixes for the Affordable Care Act. (1/7)