Frank Pallone Jr

The Youngest Victims of the Opioid Crisis Deserve Better
Policymakers must extend services for infants beyond the first weeks of life

A new law that improves care for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome is a step in the right direction, Smith writes. Above, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, who introduced the bill, and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., a co-sponsor, put their heads together in 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The opioid epidemic has hollowed out communities across the country and touched the lives of Americans of all ages. But we know disturbingly little about the youngest victims of this crisis: babies born with a type of opioid withdrawal called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS.

One in five pregnant women fills a prescription for opioids, and while not all their babies will be born with the syndrome, all are at an increased risk. Just how prevalent is NAS? One government fact sheet noted that more than 21,000 babies were born with it in 2012 alone, and a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the incidence of the condition spiked dramatically between 2000 and 2012. But from there the trail seems to go cold.

Hakeem Jeffries Wins Democratic Caucus Chair Race Against Barbara Lee
Current DPCC co-chair moves up to No. 5 in leadership

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., won the House Democratic Caucus chairmanship on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, whom several Democratic colleagues view as a potential future speaker, narrowly won an intraparty contest for House Democratic Caucus chair Wednesday against California Rep. Barbara Lee

The vote was 123-113. 

On ‘Medicare-for-All,’ Democrats Tread Lightly
It polls well. But Dems say the proposal isn’t ready for floor action

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., founded the Medicare-for-All Caucus earlier this year. She pushed back on the idea that single-payer health care is unpopular in suburban parts of the country. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Progressives in the House are calling for a vote on a single-payer “Medicare-for-all” bill in the next Congress, but the expected chairmen who will set the agenda for next year say they have other health priorities.

Still, the progressives’ push could earn more attention over the next two years as Democratic candidates begin vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. A handful of potential presidential candidates expected to declare interest have already co-sponsored “Medicare-for-all” legislation, an issue that was also a flashpoint in Democratic primaries over the past year.

Cracks on Display as Democrats Plan for Climate Action
Tension has caught the attention of House Republicans, who are already using it to paint the Democrats as a party of disunity

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., spent time during freshman orientation at Nancy Pelosi’s office. What was she doing? Protesting. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats agree they want to act on climate change, but even before they take charge of the House, they are signs of cracks in their coalition over how to advance the cause.

On Tuesday, while in Washington for new member orientations, the most prominent of newly-elected Democrats, New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, joined climate demonstrators at the office of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to demand more aggressive action on greenhouse gases.

House Democrats Initiate Probe into Whitaker’s Business Entanglements
Acting attorney general was on advisory board of company that FTC says scammed inventors

Then-Department of Justice Chief of Staff Matt Whitaker participates in a roundtable event with the Joint Interagency Task Force in August. On Wednesday, House Democrats said they were looking into the now acting attorney general’s involvement in a Miami company that agreed to a $26 million settlement over what the Federal Trade Commission called an “invention-promotion scam.” (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

House Democrats took the first steps toward launching an investigation into acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker for his involvement in a Miami marketing company that allegedly scammed millions of dollars from people looking to sell their inventions.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Elijah Cummings, Adam Schiff, and Frank Pallone Jr., the top Democrats on the House Judiciary, Oversight, Intelligence, and Energy and Commerce Committees, sent letters to Whitaker, his former business partner and five other federal and non-federal groups requesting documents and information about the alleged scheme.

On Health Care, Dems Go From Running to Baby Steps
Incremental measures will dominate action on the health law in a largely gridlocked Congress

House Democrats plan to bring administration officials to Capitol Hill to explain what critics call “sabotage” of the law’s insurance exchanges. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The midterm elections all but ended the Republican push to repeal the 2010 law known as Obamacare, but as a defining issue for Democrats in their takeover of the House, health care will likely remain near the top of lawmakers’ policy and political agenda.

Newly emboldened Democrats are expected to not only push legislation through the House, but use their majority control of key committees to press Trump administration officials on the implementation of the health law, Medicaid work requirements, and insurance that does not have to comply with Obamacare rules.

House Democrats, Republicans Unite Behind Opioids Bill
Bipartisan measure now heads to the Senate

Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display in Norwich, Conn. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The House passed consensus legislation, 393-8, on Friday intended to help combat the opioid crisis. The legislative compromise was finalized earlier this week, and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.

The two chambers came to an agreement on Tuesday, but made additional changes to the bill after the Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that the bill would increase the deficit by $44 million over the next 10 years.

Rep. Chris Smith Brought Up Orphanages After Same-Sex Parenting Question
High school senior asked if her gay sister would be less of a legitimate parent

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 7:27 p.m. | Rep. Chris Smith’s views on gay marriage were thrust into the spotlight again Wednesday after the New Jersey Republican brought up orphanages when asked about same-sex parenting, according to an audio recording of the exchange.

But Smith told Roll Call those comments were taken out of context.

Democrats Pledge CRA to Kill EPA’s Clean Power Plan Replacement
Trump hopes to gut Obama-era regulations at the center of Paris climate agreement pledges

Donald Trump had made the rollback of Obama-era carbon emission regulations a central talking point at his rallies. (Justin Merriman/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 2:35 p.m. | Democrats are already promising a Congressional Review Act challenge to the Trump administration’s proposal Tuesday to replace an Obama-era regulation curbing climate-warming carbon emissions from the electric power sector.

For President Donald Trump and Capitol Hill Republicans, the draft proposal marks the culmination of a three-year battle to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a rulemaking finalized in 2015 that required states to devise plans to cut carbon emissions from existing coal-powered electricity plants and other high carbon-emitting energy sources.

Former Coal Lobbyist Would Face a Fight if Tapped to Head EPA
Wheeler served as deputy to Scott Pruitt

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned amid a series of ethical scandals. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off a long fought victory to rid the EPA of the scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt, Democrats and environmental groups have already turned their attention to the next head of the agency that is charged with protecting the nation’s air and water.

And while Pruitt’s ethical lapses provided easy fodder for their effort to oppose the Trump administration’s environmental record, the new leadership at the EPA — for the time being, Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler — brings years of steady Washington experience to the position, making the upcoming battles more about policy than personality.