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Washington Letter November 2015


Featured Articles


ABA urges attention to education of children in foster care

The ABA urged Senate and House committee leaders this month to make sure that the final version of legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act includes provisions in the Senate-passed bill to ensure that educational needs are met for students in foster care and those who are homeless. Both House and Senate have passed versions of the reauthorization legislation, which would overhaul the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act to give states more flexibility over education programs.

Federal Government

Deadline looms for enactment of appropriations

Congress is facing a Dec. 11 deadline for enacting an omnibus appropriations package that will fund the federal government through fiscal year 2016. Members passed a continuing resolution this fall when none of the 12 separate appropriations bills had been enacted into law by Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year. The continuing resolution, P.L. 114-53 (H.R. 719), extended funding at fiscal year 2015 levels with a small across-the-board reduction to maintain the spending cap put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2013.


Justice Department urges Supreme Court to allow deportation relief for certain undocumented immigrants

The Justice Department filed a petition Nov. 20 asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the Obama administration to implement a plan to provide temporary deportation relief to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants. The petition seeks to overturn a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a preliminary injunction halting the president’s executive action, which was announced in November 2014 to provide deportation protection for parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents who have been in the country for at least five years.

Government Benefits

New Medicare rule provides for advance care planning consultation

A new rule issued this fall by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) authorizes reimbursement to physicians providing advance care planning services – an action supported by the ABA to help ensure that patients receive the support they need to make informed decisions about their treatment and care. The ABA, which has a long history of strongly promoting the value of advance care planning and use of advance health care directives, supports meaningful planning services as a regular component of care for Medicare beneficiaries.