They're baaaaaack! The 115th Congress was sworn in this past Tuesday (01/03/17) and immediately started causing trouble. The first thing the House of Representatives did was take up a rules package that included a provision to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. Following a campaign season that promised to “Drain the Swamp,” this was an interesting choice for a first vote.
Needless to say, social media erupted on Tuesday, and thousands of Americans overloaded the Capitol switchboard and servers to complain about the proposed rule. President-elect Trump turned up the heat when he tweeted, “With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it.” Facing the mounting pressure, House Republicans scuttled the proposed rule change, promising to revisit it later, possibly in cooperation with House Democrats.
So why is this important to the hospice community? Well, if nothing else, it demonstrates the importance of paying close attention to the legislative process, and the power that voters can have when they organize and mobilize. In the years before the interwebs, this type of change likely would have slid by, unnoticed by most Americans. You have a voice, you have a mouse, and you have a platform – you can use them to great effect, especially for the hospice community.
So what else have we been up to? Well, the HAN team put out our What to Expect in 2017 Policy Points Video, prognosticating on what we think will happen over the next few months. A good amount of speculation, but hopefully some good information for you to tuck away. Take the 7 minutes to listen – we think it’ll be worth your time.
We also recently sent a letter to President-elect Trump, introducing him to our community and our key policy priorities. It is a broad-brush overview, but we plan to dive in to the details with his team as they settle into their new positions over the coming months. You can read it here.
So that’s about it for now. Check back regularly, as we will be posting more about the Trump Administration as we near Inauguration Day and as he assumes the Presidency.
By Sharon Pearce
NHPCO Vice President, Public Policy