A high-stakes 3 weeks for healthcare on Capitol Hill

Democrats are staring down a particularly high-stakes three-week work period before Congress' Fourth of July recess, as they seek a healthcare win ahead of the midterms and roughly 18 months into their majority rule, The Washington Post reports.

Possibilities for a legislative deal include compromise on a gun package. In response to growing momentum for a bipartisan congressional response to recent mass shootings, key senators told The Post June 5 that talks are expected to continue for several more days as negotiators aim to build enough Republican support to get a compromise bill through the Senate. Proposals for greater mental health funding have been floated in talks as part of the package. 

Another possibility is progress on pandemic aid, which has grown more complicated amid its months-long stall in Congress. The deal would need to be renegotiated, given that some of the $10 billion earmarked by the Senate has now been spent, Bloomberg News reported. There are also questions over which chamber would first move on funding, given disputes between House and Senate Democrats over why the COVID-19 battle remains unresolved. "We're waiting for the House to send us something," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in late May, according to ABC News

A scaled-back economic package, which contains several healthcare components, is a third possibility. Talks have resumed between Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. — an obstacle to the legislation — and Mr. Schumer, The Post reports. Mr. Manchin has doubled down on his support of Democrats' drug pricing proposals, and extended financial aid for an estimated 13 million people covered under the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplaces is "ripe for inclusion," according to The Post

Finally, pieces of mental health legislation are in the works as lawmakers zero-in on youth mental health as an area ripe for bipartisan compromise, The Post reports. The Senate Finance Committee is crafting a mental health package, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced a mental health package earlier this month that includes resources for kids.

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