"We therefore request the following submissions be sent to Congress so that we may properly consider Mr. Lew's nomination: 1. A detailed legislative proposal responsive to the latest Medicare funding warning to bring the administration into compliance with federal law; 2. All documents, electronic or otherwise, received, reviewed or authored by Mr. Lew regarding responding to Medicare funding warnings during his most recent tenure at the Office of Management and Budget."
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, released the following letter today from Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee to Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients. In their letter, the Senators inquire about Jack Lew's role in the Administration's violation of federal law, and ask that a legislative proposal be submitted that ends their legal noncompliance. If confirmed as Treasury Secretary, Mr. Lew would become Chairman of Medicare's Board of Trustees.
Text of the Senators' letter follows:
"Dear Mr. Zients,
Both the House and Senate Budget Committees, along with the Senate Republican Conference at large, have previously corresponded with the administration regarding its continued violation of federal law with respect to the so-called Medicare Trigger. The Senate will soon consider the nomination of Jacob Lew, who served as the Director of Office Management and Budget during this period of non-compliance and who, if confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury, will also hold the position of Chairman of the Board of Medicare Trustees. Pursuant to our committee's oversight responsibilities, we are therefore writing to request documents pertaining to the Medicare Trigger to better ascertain Mr. Lew's role in this matter during his time as budget director.
Specifically, Section 1105 of Title 31 of the U.S. Code requires the President to submit a legislative proposal to Congress to resolve funding warnings issued by the Medicare Trustees. Federal law states that "If there is a Medicare funding warning under section 801(a)(2) of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 made in a year, the President shall submit to Congress, within the 15-day period beginning on the date of the budget submission to Congress under subsection (a) for the succeeding year, proposed legislation to respond to such warning."
The administration has failed each of the last four years to respond to these funding warnings despite receiving several communications from Congress urging them to comply with this unambiguous legal requirement. Those letters are attached. Two of those four years, 2010 and 2011, Mr. Lew was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the entity directly responsible for drafting and submitting fiscal proposals to Congress and complying with federal budget law. He also served in that office for part of 2012.
Given that the Secretary of the Treasury will be responsible for issuing Medicare funding warnings and will serve as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Medicare Trust Funds, we need a better understanding of the administration's decision not to comply with Medicare law and Mr. Lew's role in that decision.
We therefore request the following submissions be sent to Congress so that we may properly consider Mr. Lew's nomination:
A detailed legislative proposal responsive to the latest Medicare funding warning to bring the administration into compliance with federal law;
All documents, electronic or otherwise, received, reviewed or authored by Mr. Lew regarding responding to Medicare funding warnings during his most recent tenure at the Office of Management and Budget.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to receiving a response."