health care

Alexander, Murray outline plan to lower health costs
Alexander he hopes it will get a committee mark up next month and the Senate will debate a bill in July

Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., conduct a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Vaccines Save Lives: What Is Driving Preventable Disease Outbreaks?" on March 5, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two influential senators released draft health care legislation Thursday, a package of narrowly tailored proposals that will likely be part of a measure to lower health care costs that lawmakers hope to pass this year.

The draft bill, from Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., targets five areas: banning surprise medical bills; speeding low-cost generic drugs to market; increasing transparency; improving public health; and enhancing health information technology, according to a summary.

Democratic campaign chief cancels event for this anti-abortion Democrat
Rep. Cheri Bustos signaled she will continue to defend Rep. Dan Lipinski

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is a first-term DCCC chairwoman. She withdrew from an event for Rep. Dan Lipinski, who is an anti-abortion Democrat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The congresswoman who leads House Democrats’ campaign arm announced Wednesday she would no longer headline a fundraiser for an anti-abortion incumbent congressman.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Cheri Bustos agreed months ago to host a $1,000-per-plate breakfast fundraiser for Rep. Dan Lipinski because of their friendship, a spokesman for Lipinski said. But criticism of her support for Lipinski grew louder this month amid the passage of laws severely restricting abortion in six states.

Can Bernie Sanders change his luck in the South?
The stakes are higher than ever, and the game has changed from 2016

Bernie Sanders is courting black voters in the South after stumbling there in 2016. But his competition this time is even stiffer, Curtis writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Bernie Sanders spent the weekend on a Southern swing, which makes sense. The Vermont senator’s failure to connect with enough core Democratic voters the last time around — in the South, that means black voters, and black women in particular — stalled his campaign for the party’s presidential nomination. He hit a wall in the early primary state of South Carolina, losing badly to Hillary Clinton, and he never recovered.

Sanders’ trip South took him through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, to large rallies and more intimate town halls, focusing his message on “justice.” At a time when Trump-appointed judges are declining to declare their support for the landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled segregated public schools unconstitutional — and are winning Republican approval nonetheless — Sanders in South Carolina on Saturday, 65 years after Brown v. Board of Education, unveiled his “Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education and Educators” to reform the K-12 education system, with a focus on reversing racial and economic segregation.

An ‘obvious trap’? Democrats weigh political cost of impeachment
Vulnerable Democrats may be more open to impeachment but aren’t ready to go there yet

Democrat strategists who’ve worked on competitive House races largely agree that impeachment is a losing issue for the party trying to hold the House in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Democrats have a decision to make: Where are they going on impeachment, and at what political cost?

A group that has been pushing since 2017 for President Donald Trump’s impeachment will be airing ads this weekend in Iowa and New Hampshire urging Democratic leaders to take action. 

Australia’s election upset looks an awful lot like Trump
It may be a world away, but revolutionary change doesn’t end at the water’s edge

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his conservative government held on to power this week against the odds. If the elites were surprised, they weren’t paying attention, Winston writes. (Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

OPINION — Donald Trump called his supporters the “silent majority” and the “forgotten man and woman” in the 2016 campaign.

Hillary Clinton called them “deplorables.”

Senate, House start to chip away at ‘kiddie tax’ hike
Increase for low-income children was an unintended consequence of 2017 tax overhaul

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., is leading the Senate effort to repeal the “kiddie tax” increase for military survivors in Gold Star families. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Both chambers are moving to reverse tax law changes that unintentionally subjected investment earnings of low-income children to the same tax rates paid by wealthier households.

The House, which under the Constitution must originate revenue bills, plans to act later this week on a broader retirement savings bill that would eliminate the full set of changes to the so-called kiddie tax made by Republicans in the 2017 tax overhaul.

The politics of abortion surge to forefront of 2020 debate
Georgia, other states move polarizing topic to front burner with new laws

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a Democratic presidential candidate, traveled to Atlanta last week to rally for abortion rights in the wake of the state passing a law restricting them. The issue has returned to the political fore as several states pass laws to restrict abortion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It’s the worst day of your life. You’ve been told that your unborn baby is dying inside of you and you are presented with two horrible options: medically induce labor to deliver her early or carry the dangerous pregnancy to term, when your baby will suffocate outside of your womb.

At that gruesome moment, your state representative, a 63-year-old part-time farmer, walks into the exam room and tells you what he thinks you should do. If you choose anything else, you and your doctor could both be prosecuted for murder.

Eyeing hotter future, industry lays carbon tax groundwork
Business bigwigs head to the Hill this week to push climate legislation

Advocates for fighting global warming will get a boost from corporate firms advocating for a carbon tax. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Representatives from credit card firm Capital One, tech giant Microsoft, home-goods maker Johnson & Johnson and dozens of other companies are coming to Capitol Hill this week to do something unusual: Call for a new tax.

Officials from more than 75 companies will press Congress on Wednesday to pass climate legislation, including a “meaningful” national price on carbon emissions, according to Ceres, a sustainable investment group behind the effort.

For 2020 Democrats, a bull market for bashing Wall Street?
Sanders, Warren hope bashing big banks still resonates with voters

Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are among the Democrats running for president who made curbing Wall Street excesses cornerstones of their campaigns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 2016, a New York City real estate developer who inherited hundreds of millions of dollars managed to win the presidency after convincing thousands of Rust Belt voters that the daughter of a textile salesman was an untrustworthy elitist because she gave a few paid speeches to a Wall Street investment bank. Four years later, some of the nearly two dozen Democrats running for president are retreading the populist path that runs roughshod over Wall Street.

The candidates hope bashing big banks still resonates with voters, but they’re also broadening the message to include other economic issues that divide the haves from the have-nots. “The last three presidential elections have all been Main Street versus Wall Street, and — increasingly — about the Rust Belt versus Wall Street,” said Andy Green, managing director of economic policy at the Center for American Progress.

House Democrats seek details of Trump ethics waivers
Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings launched investigation earlier this week

House Oversight Chairman Eijah E. Cummings has launched an investigation into the Trump administration’s use of ethics waivers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, wants a status update on the state of the swamp in the Trump administration.

The Maryland Democrat launched an investigation late this week into the administration’s use of ethics waivers, which allow former lobbyists to work on matters they handled in their previous private sector jobs. Cummings sent letters to the White House and 24 agencies and Cabinet departments requesting copies of their ethics pledges and details of any waivers that could expose “potential conflicts of interest.”