Pascrell Statement on Budget Deal Vote
Washington, DC, February 9, 2018
Today, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), New Jersey’s only member on the House Ways and Means Committee, gave the following statement on his support for a bipartisan budget deal:
“While disgusted with the incompetence and chaos with which the Republicans have governed, I voted in favor of this bipartisan, long-term budget agreement because of the hard-fought priorities within it that give our communities, servicemembers, and businesses the assurance they need that the federal resources they rely on will not run out,” said Rep. Pascrell. “This deal isn’t perfect, but it puts us on the path to responsible governing. This bill addressed critical needs for the next two years like improving our seniors’ healthcare, assisting at-risk mothers, supporting community health centers, investing in aging infrastructure, funding for the opioid and mental health epidemics, and helping the recovery and rebuilding in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.”
Pascrell continued, “I am mad as hell at Speaker Ryan for continually holding our Dreamers hostage to the extreme right wing of his party. This is not an issue of Right vs. Left but simply Right vs. Wrong. As time ticks towards the deadline President Trump cruelly imposed, I continue to demand Speaker Ryan put his money where his mouth is and bring the Dream Act or a bipartisan deal to the floor for a vote immediately. Dreamers are part of the fabric of our communities and embody what makes America great. Too many live in fear of being torn from their friends and families because President Trump pulled the rug out from under them and Republican leadership in Congress has failed to act. It is long past time for Congress to schedule a vote so we can act on the promise we made to them when the Dreamers came out of the shadows in good faith.”
Home Visiting (MIECHV):
Rep. Pascrell led the efforts in the Ways and Means Committee and on the House floor against a partisan bill to renew the home visiting program for expectant and new mothers. The MIECHV extension in this deal does not include the provisions on state matching funds that Pascrell was seeking to strip out.
“After fighting against Republican attempts to undermine the incredibly effective home visiting program, we got a big win with a five-year continuation free of poison pills which will serve expecting and new mothers,” stated Rep. Pascrell. “This program strengthens families and ensures that our children are healthier, safer, and ready to learn when they start school. Those are the outcomes home visiting models strive for and consistently achieve.”
Several policies Rep. Pascrell worked to advance were included in the final deal. Among the policies is a provision similar to H.R. 1831 (MacArthur/Pascrell), the Fairness for Our Hospitals Act, which will support a premier health center in New Jersey to better assist our seniors and veterans with heart, lung, and vascular care. It also included H.R. 3163 (Tiberi/Pascrell), the Medicare Part B Home Infusion Services Temporary Transitional Payment Act, a bipartisan bill that will create a transitional payment structure for providers of home infusion services before policies signed into law in the 21st Century Cures Act take effect in 2021. The budget deal also directed the GAO to craft a report on medication synchronization, which will support the goals of the Synchronization and Nonadherence Correction Act (Noem/Pascrell), legislation that would make medication adherence more seamless for older adults, to better manage their medical conditions.
“Several of my healthcare priorities are included in the bill passed today,” stated Rep. Pascrell. “Patients suffering from long-term, chronic conditions like Traumatic Brain Injuries will no longer be cut off from physical and speech therapy under Medicare because this bill permanently repeals the payment cap for therapy services. An unfair policy that disallowed the Deborah Heart and Lung Center in New Jersey from participating in the Medicare Dependent Hospital program is resolved. My legislation creating transition payments for home infusion therapies for Medicare beneficiaries is also included, so they will not have a gap in care. Finally, GAO will examine improvements to medication synchronization, in line with my legislation seeking to improve prescription alignment for our seniors to achieve better health outcomes.”
“On behalf of Deborah Heart and Lung Center, our patients, employees and the rural communities we serve, I want to thank Congressmen Tom MacArthur and Bill Pascrell, Jr., for their unwavering commitment and tireless efforts to pass bipartisan legislation allowing us to participate in the Rural Medicare Dependent Hospital program,” said Joseph Chirichella, Deborah President and CEO. “We are grateful for everything they did to correct this longstanding injustice and are thrilled that the additional resources we will receive as a result of this designation will allow us to sustain Deborah’s humanitarian mission of providing the highest quality health care without directly billing any patient in our rural service area. The collaboration of these two outstanding elected officials demonstrates that our government can still be responsive to the people and can absolutely make a significant and positive difference in the lives of every day New Jerseyans.”