Medicaid

Red-State Democrats Zero In on Opioid Epidemic
Issue could buoy vulnerable incumbents in West Virginia, Missouri

Sens. Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin III are two vulnerable Democrats looking to highlight their work on opioids. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Vulnerable red-state Democrats are highlighting their work to address the opioid crisis in an effort to hold on to their congressional seats, even as it remains unclear whether the Senate will take key action before the midterm elections.

While the opioid epidemic is a priority for much of Congress, candidates in especially hard-hit states, such as West Virginia, have made it a core issue in their re-election bids.

Road Ahead: Senate Returning to DC for the Ides of August
Floor agenda will look familiar: judicial nominations and appropriation bills

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.,left, jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps on Aug. 1 after the chamber’s last vote of the week. Risch was posing for photos with interns on the steps. Senators return Wednesday from their truncated district work period. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thank goodness the Senate has “manufactured weather.”

That’s what Carrier called the system that was first installed to cool the chamber in the early 20th century. The modern air conditioning will be in full use this week as the Senate returns for a rare mid-August session.

Young Voters Don’t Like Being Called Millennials, Or Too Much Trump-Bashing
Millennials and Gen Z to make the largest demographic come 2020

Darren Scioneaux, center, and other Dillard University students march to their polling place on campus to vote in New Orleans, La., November 8, 2016. Caroline Fayard, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Louisiana, walked with the students. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By Election Day 2020 Millennials and Generation Z will make up 40 percent of eligible voters. 

Right now, only 23 percent of that demographic turns out to vote, according to Ben Wessel, director of NextGen Rising. His organization is aiming to change that.

Trump Plan: Consumers Could Keep Short-Term Health Plan Skirting Federal Rules
Rule could take effect in 60 days, but ‘slow ramp-up’ anticipated

The Trump administration is seeking to finalize a rule that would allow consumers to purchase plans that don’t comply with all the regulations in the 2010 health care law.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration on Wednesday moved to finalize a rule that would let consumers maintain a short-term health insurance plan that skirts federal rules for just under a year, a step officials say will provide more affordable insurance options to more Americans.

The rule, which will be prepared Wednesday for publication in the Federal Register, is part of the administration's effort to allow people to purchase health care plans that don't comply with all of the regulations set by the 2010 health care law , and are typically less expensive than plans sold in the individual market exchanges.

‘Undeterred’ Trump Administration to Push Ahead With Medicaid Work Rules
Despite Kentucky setback, Alex Azar says HHS is “fully committed” to work requirements

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the administration will continue to litigate the Kentucky case and is “fully committed” to work requirements in the Medicaid program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration will continue to approve state Medicaid work requirement proposals, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday, despite a federal court recently blocking Kentucky from implementing such rules.

The administration will continue litigating the Kentucky case and is “fully committed” to work requirements in the Medicaid program, Azar said during an address at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

Republicans Go For Broke on Tax Cut Message With 2.0 Effort
Making individual tax cuts permanent is centerpiece of developing 3-bill package

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, briefed House Republicans Tuesday on his panel’s developing “Tax Reform 2.0” plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call fie photo)

House Republicans have made clear that the tax overhaul bill their party passed last year is their primary selling point to voters on why they should keep them in the majority come November. 

Now they’re doubling down on the tax cut message as they prepare a three-bill package they’re calling “Tax Reform 2.0.”

When Things Get Heated in the Hearing Room
Strzok shouting match is hardly the first time emotions have erupted in the paneled recesses of the Capitol

Posters depicting the men who have pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe are displayed alongside Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., as he gives his opening statement Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

FBI agent Peter Strzok felt the heat at Thursday’s House Oversight and Judiciary hearing, as tempers flared and points of order flew.  

Chairman Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, brought the interrogative theatrics. “I don’t give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok,” the South Carolina Republican told the witness, who was removed from the bureau’s Russia probe last year over politically charged texts.

$177.1 Billion Labor-HHS-Education Moves Forward With Family Separation Changes
House Appropriations has approved 11 of 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., wants the Labor-HHS-Education bill linked to the Defense bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Appropriations Committee late Wednesday evening approved, 30-22, a $177.1 billion fiscal 2019 bill to fund the departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.

The committee has now approved 11 of its 12 fiscal 2019 spending measures, following the marathon 13-hour markup of the massive nondefense bill that left lawmakers from both parties exasperated at various points. The debate covered family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, gun research funding, abstinence-only sex education and thorny political issues around religious adoption agencies.

Hospital Drug Discount Program Under Lawmakers’ Microscope
House panel to examine legislation Wednesday

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was to address a conference of hospitals participating in a drug discount program facing Congressional scrutiny. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House panel that has been scrutinizing hospitals’ use of a drug discount program will examine on Wednesday pieces of legislation that stem from members’ concerns over the discounts.

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight panel has had two hearings in the past year on the program, known as 340B. The committee has requested information from hospitals that participate and in January published a report outlining ways the drug discount program could be better run.

Opinion: Our Growing Economy Should Not Leave Rural America Behind
New report from Joint Economic Committee Democrats offers ideas to help communities thrive

Wind turbines in eastern West Virginia. Wind turbine service technicians will be in heavy demand in rural areas, as the occupation is project to rank among the fastest-growing in the country over the next 10 years, Heinrich writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rural communities hold a special place in my heart. Not only because so many of the New Mexicans I represent live in rural areas, but also because I was raised in rural America. I know firsthand what it’s like to grow up in a small town, seeing both of my parents work long hours just to make ends meet and to provide a better future for my sisters and me.

A decade after the Great Recession, the overall economic picture for rural communities remains challenging. Not only are residents growing older, but two-thirds of rural counties lost population between 2010 and 2016. New job opportunities have lagged behind those in urban areas, and rural employment remains below pre-recession levels. Even when you have a job in rural America, too often your wages aren’t growing as fast as those in other places.