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Senate Passes Debt Ceiling Compromise Legislation

The Senate today passed a bipartisan debt ceiling compromise by a vote of 74-26.  The legislation will now be sent to the President for his signature.  The agreement, which operates in two parts, would raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion immediately.  Medicare and Medicaid would not be impacted by these initial cuts.  Despite information that Medicare payments to rural hospitals could be reduced by roughly $14 billion, NRHA and others were successful in lobbying Congress to make sure that these cuts were not included in the first round of cuts. Part two of the debt ceiling legislation creates a 12-member committee made up of equal numbers of members of both parties and both bodies of Congress. This committee would be responsible for making recommendations for $1.2-1.5 trillion in additional savings by Nov. 23. The committee’s recommendations would be subject to a simple majority vote before Dec. 23 and could not be filibustered.  The additional savings may include tax revenues, entitlement cuts, and further cuts to discretionary funding.  These savings must be produced before the President is allowed to ask for another increase in the debt ceiling.  If the committee is unable to agree on these savings, an automatic trigger would force across-the-board cuts to mandatory and discretionary spending programs. As future cuts to rural hospitals and providers are still possible, it is important to continue our work advocating against these cuts.  Information on how to contact your Member of Congress is available at NHRA's homepage.  If you have any questions about the cuts proposed to rural hospitals or debt ceiling negotiations, please contact Maggie Elehwany or David Lee at (202) 639-0550.

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