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10-30-15 ENT Advocate

October 30, 2015

Lead Story:
Congress Passes Two-Year Budget Deal
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed (266 -167) a budget deal that suspends the debt limit until March 2017; partly addresses a significant increase to Medicare beneficiary premiums scheduled for January; and boosts defense and domestic spending above sequestration levels. The package also mitigates the risk of a government shutdown beyond next year’s Presidential election. The U.S. Senate passed the bill (64-35) early this morning (Friday), and the President's signature is expected in the near future.

Action Requested:
Don’t Let a Nightmare Become a Reality - Donate to ENT PAC*
What’s scarier than goblins and witches? A Congress that does not support pro-otolaryngology issues! Help ensure the specialty’s voice is heard on Capitol Hill by becoming a 2015 ENT PAC Investor. Log-in to www.entpac.org using your AAO-HNS ID (NOT your email address) and password to make an immediate contribution. Or, send a check (payable to ENT PAC) to 1650 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.*

435 Representatives + 100 Senators = PROJECT 535
Help the AAO-HNS prepare for the second session of the 114th Congress by signing up for PROJECT 535! This new initiative aims to recruit a “key contact” for each U.S. Senate and House Congressional seat. Pairing Academy Members with lawmakers in each Congressional district will improve our outreach and effectiveness when major issues impacting the specialty are debated by Congress. Sign up today!

Is Your State Covered?
With many state legislative sessions starting in early 2016, we are still seeking legislative “trackers” for several states. We have yet to identify volunteer State Trackers in Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming – leaving these states vulnerable to ill-advised legislative proposals. Are you interested in serving as a Tracker, but are unsure of your “tracking” skills? Don’t worry! Monthly conference calls will be scheduled to discuss legislative trends and to answer your questions. If you are interested in volunteering for this effort to protect the specialty’s interests in your state legislature, contact the Legislative Advocacy team at govtaffairs@entnet.org.

Informational Updates:
National Call-in Day Regarding E-Cigarettes, Cigars, and Hookah Regulations
On Tuesday, October 27, AAO-HNS Members were encouraged to call the White House comment line and urge President Obama to finalize regulations that would give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookah. Currently, no federal oversight of these products exists and industry uses candy and fruit-flavored products to target children. As a result, over 2 million minors now use e-cigarettes,1.4 million smoke cigars, and 1.6 million smoke hookah. For more information on this issue and other AAO-HNS legislative priorities, email govtaffairs@entnet.org.

Welcome Speaker Ryan
After a tumultuous October, the U.S. House of Representatives finally has a new Speaker. On the heels of intense pressure from inside the Republican Conference, and a lack of viable alternative candidates, U.S Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) agreed to “run” for the top leadership position. Having previously secured support from the major Republican Caucuses, Rep. Ryan was formally nominated by the party on October 28. A final vote (236-184) and the swearing-in of Speaker Ryan took place on October 29.

Coalition Letter Urges Preservation of AHRQ Funding
On October 22, the AAO-HNS joined nearly 200 organizations in urging Members of Congress to preserve funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). AHRQ is the only federal research agency with the sole purpose of producing practical evidence to make healthcare safer, of higher quality, and more accessible, equitable, and affordable. For information on this and other coalition efforts, visit the Legislative & Political Affairs website.

Other AAO-HNS Informational Updates:
mENTorConnect – Get Connected!
mENTorConnect is a new tool designed to help bring together AAO-HNS Members and provide a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth through the creation of mentor relationships. This new ENTConnect feature allows Members to search for potential mentor relationships and connect like never before. Get started at www.entnet.org/mENTorConnect.


*Contributions to ENT PAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Contributions are voluntary, and all members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Federal law prohibits ENT PAC from accepting contributions from foreign nationals. By law, if your contributions are made using a personal check or credit card, ENT PAC may use your contribution only to support candidates in federal elections. All corporate contributions to ENT PAC will be used for educational and administrative fees of ENT PAC, and other activities permissible under federal law. Federal law requires ENT PAC to use its best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and the name of the employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.