Lawmakers rally troops

Friday, December 20, 2013

WASHINGTON – Sponsors of S. 948, a Senate bill to create a separate benefit for complex rehab, circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter the week of Nov. 18 to help increase that bill’s six-member co-sponsor tally.

A separate House bill, H.R. 942, has 84 co-sponsors. Stakeholders say more co-sponsors are needed for both bills to convince the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score the bill. 

“The challenge is the congressional environment,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. “With all that’s going on, it’s hard to get attention, but we need to increase the number of co-sponsors and we need to keep action going in the key 


Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who introduced the House bill, told stakeholders that same week that they need to get 100 co-sponsors. 

The continued involvement  of the sponsoring lawmakers means they still believe in the bill’s chances, says Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility. 

“It’s definitely a good sign,” said Johnson. “They’re re-engaging to build as much support as possible. The CBO is not going to score all the bills that get introduced—they prioritize based on the number of co-sponsors and whether the bill is likely to move.”

Certain co-sponsors could also be a selling point, says Weesie Walker, interim executive director of NRRTS. 

“Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., has signed on; he’s a physician and he’s on the Ways and Means Committee,” said Walker. “I asked my local representative, ‘If Dr. Price signed on, why wouldn’t you support it?’”