Vote Descriptions

The National Committee legislative staff has identified votes in the 116th Congress (2019-2020) on issues it believes to be of importance to seniors as well as all Americans. This list is not intended to be a complete account of all the votes and activities of U.S. Representatives and Senators, but we feel it is instructive with regard to earned benefits.

VOTES CAST IN THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

House 2019 (First Session)

1. Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019. (H.R. 986) On passage of the bill: Prohibits implementation of the Health and Human Services and Treasury departments’ rule to allow states to offer less comprehensive Affordable Care Act marketplace health insurance. As a result, pre-existing condition protections would be undermined and vulnerable populations would pay higher insurance premiums. Preventing this rule from taking effect would be particularly helpful to the 40 percent of enrollees age 50 to 64 who have one or more pre-existing conditions. House Roll Call #196, May 9, 2019. Passed: 230-183. National Committee position: Yes.

2.Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act. (H.R. 987) On passage of the bill: Reduces the cost of prescription drugs by increasing the availability of generic drugs on the market; and protects and strengthens access to health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, particularly for individuals with pre-existing conditions. House Roll Call #214, May 16, 2019. Passed: 234-183. National Committee position: Yes.

3.Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. (H.R. 3) On passage of the bill: Allows the Health and Human Services Department to negotiate prices for certain high cost drugs with pharmaceutical manufacturers on behalf of Medicare, which is currently prohibited by law. Creates a $2,000 Medicare beneficiary annual out-of-pocket cap for spending on prescription drugs. Provides partial coverage for Medicare hearing, dental and vision services. House Roll Call #682, December 12, 2019. Passed: 230-192. National Committee position: Yes.

House 2020 (Second Session)

4.Expressing disapproval of the Trump administration’s harmful actions towards Medicaid. (H. Res. 826) On agreeing to the resolution: Expresses the sense of the U.S. House of Representatives that the Trump administration acted illegally when it allowed states to apply for federal Medicaid funding in the form of capped block grants. If allowed, the federal payment to state Medicaid programs would, over time, be significantly reduced hurting low income seniors dependent on Medicaid for health and long-term care coverage. House Roll Call #51, February 6, 2020. Passed: 223-190. National Committee position: Yes.

VOTES CAST IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE

Senate 2019 (First Session)

5.Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019. (H.R. 3877) On passage of an amendment: Limits all federal spending, including on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and Older Americans Act programs, in fiscal years 2020 through 2029. In addition, increases the public debt limit on the condition that Congress refers to the states for ratification a “balanced budget” amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Under a balanced budget amendment, total government expenditures in any year –  including expenditures for Social Security benefits – could not exceed total revenues collected in the same year. The measure could significantly harm the economy, result in a government default, and force severe cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other vital federal programs. Senate Roll Call #260, August 1, 2019. Rejected: 23-70. National Committee position: No.

6.Providing for congressional disapproval of health insurance coverage rule. (S.J. Res 52) On passage of the joint resolution: Prohibits implementation of the Health and Human Services and Treasury departments’ rule to allow states to offer less comprehensive Affordable Care Act marketplace health insurance. As a result, pre-existing condition protections would be undermined and vulnerable populations would pay higher insurance premiums. Preventing this rule from taking effect would be particularly helpful to the 40 percent of enrollees age 50 to 64 who have one or more pre-existing conditions. S.J. Res 52 is similar to H.R. 986 (see House Roll Call #196, May 9, 2019). Senate Roll Call #337, October 30, 2019. Rejected: 43–52. National Committee position: Yes.

7.Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, Defense, State-Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2020. (H.R. 2740) On a motion to limit debate and vote on the fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS-Education, Defense, Energy-Water, and State-Foreign Operations spending package. The Labor-HHS appropriations section increased funding by less than 1 percent over fiscal year 2019. This small increase would not have kept pace with inflation, or the increased demand placed on seniors programs resulting from the ten-thousand 65-year-olds retiring every day. Senate Roll Call #342, October 31, 2019. Rejected: 51–41 (60 votes required for passage). National Committee position: No.

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