Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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US Senator Bill NelsonU.S. Senator Bill Nelson - Update
October 24, 2013

Reopening Government and Avoiding Default 

Senator Nelson joined 80 senators to pass H.R. 2775, a compromise bill that funds the government until January 15 and suspends the debt ceiling through February 7.

The government was shut down on October 1 after the House of Representatives demanded the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act in exchange for the continued funding of the government.

According to Standard & Poor’s, the government shutdown decreased GDP by at least 0.6 percent, amounting to approximately $24 billion in reduced economic activity.

For more information
Lynn Bannister: Director of Outreach
111 North Adams St
Tallahassee, FL  32301
850-942-8415 / 850-942-8450 (fax)

Guaranteeing Pay for National Guard and Reservists

A bipartisan group of senators, including Senator Nelson, wrote the Secretary of Defense to request a broader interpretation of the Pay Our Military Act (POMA) to include National Guardsmen and Reservists. Congress passed POMA to provide the Department of Defense with the ability and flexibility to continue operations in case of a government shutdown.

Fully Fund SNAP

Senator Nelson joined a letter to farm bill conferees in support of full funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the Farm Bill. Potential SNAP cuts could have a dramatic effect on the well-being of over 22 million households, including struggling families and seniors. Nelson supports a farm bill that ensures the continuation of this effective, accountable program.

Expediting H-2A Visas

In response to farmers’ concerns about crops spoiling due to unavailability of labor, Senator Nelson wrote to the Department of Labor, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the State Department about approval of this year’s H- 2A visas. The letter requests that the associated agencies process H-2A visa requests in two to three weeks instead of the usual six.

Payments for Pathology Services

Senator Nelson signed a letter urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider a proposed cut to anatomic pathology services. In the 2014 Proposed Physician Fee Schedule Rule, CMS recommended linking payment for 38 codes to hospital outpatient rates. If finalized, Medicare payments for those pathology services would average 26 percent across the board.

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