Lobbyists will be busier than ever in the next weeks and months ahead, trying to influence both the makeup and the recommendations of the new "supercommittee" that is supposed to recommend $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over the next ten years. Under the terms of Budget Control Act of 2011 passed by the Congress and signed by President Obama on Tuesday, mandatory budget cuts will take effect if Congress cannot agree on the committee recommendations or some other plan to reduce the amounts being added annually to the nation's debt. The prospect of mandatory cuts has alarmed and aroused lobbyists and trade groups, especially those in the powerful defense and health care industries.
"It will be a full-court press to work with the committee to make our views known," said Richard Pollack, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association, told the Washington Post. The AHA represents nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers. Its members would lose an estimated $50 billion in a year in Medicare payments under the mandatory cuts authorized by this week's deficit reduction bill, the Post reported. "Our hospitals are in every congressional district in the country. Our patients are Republicans and Democrats. We are very concerned about where this is going to go," Pollack said.
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Marion C. Blakey (photo)