Washington Watch - April 22, 2009

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Washington Watch - April 22, 2009

Obama Creates Health Reform Office
Stating that health care was a top priority during his first year in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order early this month to create the Office of Health Reform. The office will, created under the Department of Health and Human Services, will have a White House counterpart, as well. The two offices will work with other federal departments and agencies to ensure the creation of “high-quality, affordable, and accessible health care and to slow the growth of health costs,” according to an executive order.

Nancy-Ann DeParle, a former official in the Clinton Administration, will head the White House office. The yet-to-be-named nominee for the Health and Human Services office will be chosen by secretary nominee Kathleen Sebelius.

The Health Reform Offices will also do the following:
  • integrate the President's policy decisions and agenda concerning health reform across the Federal Government;

  • coordinate public outreach activities conducted by executive departments and agencies designed to gather input from the public

  • work with the Congress and executive departments and agencies to eliminate unnecessary legislative, regulatory, and other bureaucratic barriers that impede effective delivery of efficient and high-quality health care;

  • monitor implementation of the President's agenda on health reform.

For more information, visit www.WhiteHouse.gov.


Budget Resolution Sticking Points Still Remain

The House and Senate will need to work together in the coming weeks to reach an agreement on the federal government’s 2010 budget. Some lawmakers say that may not happen without pressure from the White House.

The main issue of contention involves whether to attach a health care overhaul to the budget, in order to speed up the reform process in fall 2009. The decision will ultimately revolve around whether Senate Democrats choose to use reconciliation, a process that would prevent filibuster. President Obama has said that a top priority in his first year is to address health care reform.

Another issue at stake is discretionary spending levels. The House would like to provide more funds for appropriations to overhaul, not only the health care system but the student loan program, as well.

Two top Democrats, Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, have argued against the use of reconciliation to pass the budget resolutions, preferring instead to achieve bipartisan support on the issues. Senate Republicans have hinted they will not be willing to negotiate on future legislation if shut out of the process.


IRS E-News For Small Businesses
IRS e-News for Small Businesses offers small businesses and the self-employed a real time-saver. The publication is a bi-weekly newsletter that alerts them to what’s new, hot and important for small business owners to know. It’s quick to read, easy to subscribe – and it’s free.

e-News for Small Businesses is the IRS’s e-newsletter for businesses with specialized content consisting of:

  • Important upcoming tax dates for small businesses and the self-employed

  • What’s new for small businesses and self-employed on IRS.gov

  • Reminders and tips to assist small businesses with tax compliance

  • IRS news releases and special IRS announcements

  • Direct links to a variety of Web sites and resources

  • Availability of IRS products, services, and training opportunities

Subscribe to e-News for Small Businesses online here by clicking on “Subscribe Now” and entering your e-mail address.

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