POLICY UPDATE: Budget, Healthcare, Non-Partisanship and Overtime Rules
We circulated a sign-on letter to Governor Hogan asking him to speak out publicly against the cuts in federal programs and protections now being considered in Congress. If you missed that request, we urge you to read and sign that letter here. As proposed by the President, next year’s federal budget would cut over $200 million from discretionary federal programs in Maryland – in addition to the impact of health care and Medicaid changes now being debated. Governors can be a critical force in communicating the harmful or even devastating effects that these cuts would have on the people and the economies of their states to members of Congress.
On July 11, Republican Senate Majority Leader McConnell announced that a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (the Senate’s response to the now derided American Health Care Act or “AHCA” passed by the House of Representatives, itself released earlier this month) will be made public later this week. Preliminary accounts say the bill may do away with tax and fee cuts benefitting the wealthy in the earlier draft, but may still include the highly criticized cuts to Medicaid. Senator McConnell also said that he expects a CBO ‘score’ on the revision by next week, and he will extend the current Senate session into the traditional August recess to resolve health care and other business pending in the Senate.
Maryland Nonprofits has joined the National Council of Nonprofits and state nonprofit associations from 44 other states in calling on the members of the House Appropriations Committee to strip an extraneous rider (Section 116) from the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for FY 2018. That joint letter is available here, and we have also forwarded it to Representatives Harris and Ruppersberger, who represent Maryland on the Appropriations Committee. BoardSource and other national representatives of the nonprofit community are taking similar action. This may be only the first of several direct attempts to weaken or repeal the prohibition on partisan activity known as the Johnson Amendment.
The U.S. Department of Labor has essentially dropped its defense against litigation that blocked enforcement of the new paid overtime rules promulgated last year by the Obama Administration. However, as reported here by HR Daily Advisor, the Department has also indicated that it disagreed with that part of the federal district judge’s ruling that held DOL had no regulatory authority regarding minimum salaries AND that they would consider proposing a new regulation that raised the minimum qualifying salaries – but not as far as last year’s promulgated rule. We will continue to monitor this and keep you updated on any renewal of a regulatory process.