Congress Passes Top ACG Policy Priorities
From ACG Legislative and Public Policy Council Chair, James C. Hobley, MD, MSc, FACG
After tense negotiations last week, Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill. This relief bill was packaged together with a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the government through September 2021. President Trump has expressed his concern and has not signed the bill into law at the time of this writing. The bill was passed by a vote of 359-53 in the U.S. House and 92-6 in the U.S. Senate, both veto-proof majorities. However, overriding a Presidential veto is not a guarantee as there could be some members of the Republican party hesitant to vote against the President. In addition, President Trump has the option of a "pocket veto" (not signing the bill into law). Using this tool would not only trigger a federal government shutdown but would also take away the official powers of the 116th Congress and the seating of the 117th Congress. Current federal funding expires at midnight, Monday, December 28th, so ACG is monitoring President Trump's actions and any congressional response.
Thank you, ACG members! Your advocacy efforts proved successful, as various ACG priorities were included in this legislative package.
Please find below some other important ACG priorities in this year-end legislative package, recognizing that we didn’t get everything we wanted. The screening colonoscopy cost-waiver is phased in over time and the cuts to GI services were mitigated but are still lurking in the future. It was, however, a very successful advocacy campaign to close out the year. The ACG Legislative and Public Policy Council will continue to work with the ACG Board of Governors and our ACG colleagues. We are committed to advocating on behalf of our patients and clinical gastroenterology. We have a lot of work to do in 2021!
Thank you, again, for all of your efforts. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!