Washington Weekly
Mar. 31, 2014

Last Week

The House prevented a 24% reduction in physician payments under Medicare, which the Senate is expected to pass today. In addition, both bodies passed aid to Ukraine, with a final agreement to be voted on once more this week before being sent to the President for his signature.

In addition, the House passed legislation that amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to require state programs for regulation of surface coal mining to incorporate the necessary rule concerning excess spoil, coal mine waste, and buffers for perennial and intermittent streams published by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement on Dec. 12, 2008. It also prohibits issuance of any regulations regarding stream buffer zones or protection before publication of the report, other than a rule necessary to implement incorporation of the December 2008. And it requires each state with an approved program for regulation of surface coal mining to submit program amendments incorporating such rule within two years of enactment of this act.More

This Week

The Senate intends to take up a new legislative vehicle for unemployment insurance and spend much of the week debating it, but whether it can gain 60 votes is uncertain. In addition, they should pass the "doc fix" this evening. The House will begin taking up a budget resolution, even though the Senate has said it will not. Also this week, the House is planning to pass legislation repealing another component of the Affordable Care Act. The bill would redefine full-time work as 40 hours, which had been changed under the current health care law to 30 hours.More

Item of Interest

Has the change in law from 40 hours to 30 hours in defining full-time work impacted your company? Last week, we were invited to meet with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and he asked groups such as ASA to reach out to our members to hear from you. Has this required you to reduce hours for your employees to get beneath this threshold? We would like to hear from you as the Save the American Workers Act comes to the House floor for passage to send a powerful message to the Senate so that they take action.More

What Comes Next for Obamacare
NationalJournal
Obamacare's first enrollment period is ending — and with it, a half-decade of debating the law solely as a vague political abstraction. How the Affordable Care Act would play out has been mostly a theoretical question until now; Republicans predicted it would collapse in on itself (didn't happen), while Democrats swore the public would embrace it as time went on (also didn't happen).More

Department of Labor Will Examine Pay Threshold, Management Exemption for Overtime
Roll Call
It will likely be months before the Obama administration details the specific changes it plans for overtime rules, but officials are looking at making two significant shifts. In a hearing last week, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said the Department of Labor would study both raising the wage threshold and overturning the 2004 rule that made certain salaried employees exempt from overtime because they perform some managerial duties.More

Obamacare's Four-Year Checkup
The Hill
The deadline for Obamacare's first-year enrollment has arrived, four years after one of the most far-reaching and divisive pieces of domestic legislation became law. It's a historic moment and a time to take stock of a measure proponents said would provide health insurance to people who lacked it, drive down costs, take a bite out of the deficit, boost the economy and lower the amount ordinary people had to pay.More