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House May Squelch Lame-Duck Omnibus for FY 2015

Republicans had little time to relish their election victory and choose their leaders before they were confronted with the President’s firm statement that he will issue an Executive Order providing relief from deportation for certain illegal immigrants and their children. Reconfirmed as House Speaker for the 114th Congress, John Boehner (R-OH) said that “We’re going to fight the President tooth and nail if he continues down this path…” However, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), elected by the Senate Republican Conference as the next Senate Majority Leader, reiterated his stance that there will be no government shutdown stemming from the President’s executive order. Speaker Boehner indicated that all options are on the table to fight the President’s action, but that he will wait until this week to determine the strategy going forward after conferring with the House Republican Conference. While some Republican members would seek to defund the order in an appropriations measure, others are pushing to abandon the urging of Republican appropriators for the passage of an omnibus bill and instead are advocating for the passage of a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CRs) extending into early next year. To salvage an omnibus deal, current Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who was elected incoming Minority Leader by the Senate Democratic Caucus, is urging the President to hold off on his executive action until after the appropriations measure has been negotiated and passed. Complicating the process is the President’s request for supplemental funding for Ebola in the amount of $6.2 billion and for both war efforts and border security. The contentious environment between Republicans and the President does not appear to give much hope to an opening for the completion this year of legislation to reform the sustainable growth rate (SGR) Medicare physician payment system. The legislative environment may not improve much next year when Republicans unveil their fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget proposal which published sources report would attempt to defund significant portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and reform Medicare and Medicaid along the lines pushed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who could possibly be the next chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee due to the retirement of the current chairman, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI).

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