Today, January 6, marks the first day of the 114th Congress and 13 new Senators and 58 new Representatives will start work in Washington, DC. For the first time in 8 years, Republicans will be in control of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Senator Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) will be the Senate Majority Leader (with a 54-44 majority with 2 independents) and Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) will lead the House (with a 246-188 majority). Of course, President Obama will remain in the White House as a “lame duck” President.
Republicans Go On The Attack
As noted in an earlier blog, this Congress could drastically impact healthcare as well as the lives of cancer survivors or those at risk for the disease. In the 113th Congress, the House voted more than 50 times to repeal, dismantle, or defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Once again, the House has already indicated that they will start addressing components of the ACA such as the definition of full-time workers due to concerns about small employers limiting workers’ hours because they cannot afford to pay for health insurance for their workforce. Additionally, the Hire More Heroes Act could help dismantle the employer mandate as it would exempt Veterans from the employer mandate for small businesses. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is continuing the push for individuals to sign up in healthcare exchanges during the open enrollment period which ends February 15.
State of the Union
President Obama will present his State of the Union Address on January 20, and he will focus on the positive economic trends throughout his Presidency. As he sets the stage for continued economic growth, these gains will be critical as we continue to seek ample and stable funding for biomedical research and cancer resources and services.
It is likely that President Obama will be less constrained during his final two years, although he will have to find a way to work with the new conservative Congress in order to implement sustainable, meaningful policy changes. The Prevent Cancer Foundation looks forward to working with the new Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure that the health and well-being of Americans is promoted and protected in any federal policy decisions in the 114th Congress.