Health Care

Abortion threatens congressional impasse on funding

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., referred to some GOP colleagues as "sex starved males" on the House floor, setting off a brief spat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats' effort to rescind Trump administration anti-abortion policies threatens to hold up government spending bills. CQ Roll Call reporter Sandhya Raman details the debate and surveys how lawmakers are using abortion politics, both in Washington and the states, to rile their voters ahead of next year's election. 

 

Trump — not lawmakers — set to be biggest challenge for new legislative affairs chief Ueland
No matter who runs Hill shop, president’s approach is ‘very unlikely to yield results,’ expert says

Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi, right, introduces Eric Ueland at his confirmation hearing to be under secretary of State for management in September 2017. That nomination was later withdrawn, but Ueland will be President Donald Trump’s third legislative affairs director, starting Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eric Ueland, hand-picked by President Donald Trump to be his third legislative affairs director, has decades of experience in the D.C. “swamp” his soon-to-be boss loathes. But the former senior GOP aide will quickly learn it is the president alone who is, as one official put it Thursday, “the decider.”

Ueland has been chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and a Senate Budget Committee staff director. Experts and former officials describe him as highly qualified for the tough task of being the messenger between Trump and a Congress with a Democrat-controlled House that regularly riles up the president and a Senate where Republicans lack votes to pass most major legislation.

House floor shenanigans punctuate start of spending season
Democrat calls GOP males ‘sex-starved,’ while Republicans use procedural delay tactics

From left, Republicans Justin Amash, Chip Roy and Jim Jordan are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee markup on Wednesday. Roy was requiring the House to conduct roll call votes on noncontroversial amendments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional proceedings are usually pretty dry, but on Wednesday, House floor watchers might as well have been tuned into a reality TV show given all the shenanigans occurring as lawmakers debated their first spending package for the upcoming fiscal year.

Between a Democratic lawmaker calling her GOP male colleagues “sex-starved” and Republicans using a series of procedural tricks to delay proceedings, there was no shortage of tension to kick off the fiscal 2020 appropriations process.

After rebuke from Jon Stewart, panel approves 9/11 victim bill
Without funding, victims face cuts to promised compensation, as much as 70 percent

Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, New York Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Speaker Nancy Pelosi talk on the Speaker’s balcony Tuesday after a meeting iabout funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation extending the fund. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A day after comedian Jon Stewart chastised lawmakers for their sparse attendance at a hearing on legislation to help victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill without even calling a roll call vote, extending a victims fund for decades while offering whatever funding is needed.

Stewart and lawmakers representing the victims have expressed frustration with Congress’ pace in moving the legislation, even after the overseer of the victims fund, Rupa Bhattacharyya, announced in February that she would have to cut payouts to victims for lack of money.

‘Cadillac tax’ repeal could get floor action, thanks to Pelosi’s new rule
The tax is aimed at high-cost health care plans

Speaker Nancy Pelosi ushered in a new way to bring bills to the floor. Now members of her party want to use it to repeal the so-called “Cadillac Tax.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Moderate Democrats in the House won a major victory last year when incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported a new rule that can force her to bring to the floor bills with at least 290 co-sponsors.

Ironically, one of the first to benefit from the process could be a bill to repeal a feature of the 2010 health care law. The provision imposed a tax on high-cost health care plans in order to pay for the law’s new spending. Health care economists supported the tax as a way of suppressing rising health costs, but labor unions — which often negotiate generous insurance benefits for their members — don’t like it.

9/11 first responders ‘did their jobs … do yours’: Watch Jon Stewart rip lawmakers

Entertainer and activist Jon Stewart holds up the jacket of first responder Ray Pfeifer before testifying at a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee as it considers permanent authorization of the Victim Compensation Fund in Washington on Tuesday June 11, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The House Judiciary Committee convened Tuesday to hear from 9/11 first responders, family members and advocates for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Jon Stewart, a fund proponent, said Congress’ slow response to the health needs of the first responders was a stain on the institution, contrasting that with how quickly the FDNY and NYPD sprung into action after the 9/11 attacks.

Repeal of abortion funding ban won’t be part of spending debate, sponsor says
Longstanding Hyde amendment unlikely to be addressed on House floor this week

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks with reporters as she leaves the House Democrats’ caucus meeting in the Capitol on June 4, 2019. Jayapal co-sponsored a proposal to repeal the Hyde amendment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An amendment to repeal a 42-year-old prohibition on using federal public health funds for abortions won’t be part of the debate on a nearly $1 trillion appropriations bill covering the Department of Health and Human Services and several other agencies.

That was the view Monday night of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, who co-sponsored a proposal to repeal the Hyde amendment, which the appropriations package headed to the House floor this week would continue. The language is named for its author, the late Illinois Republican Rep. Henry J. Hyde.

Democrats’ Spending Bill Strategy
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 113

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says he'd like to have all 12 spending bills done by the end of June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are packaging spending bills with the aim of completing all 12 by the end of the month, a goal that is likely to generate a lot of policy debates and amendments, explains Jennifer Shutt in this episode of the CQ Budget podcast. The first package contains five bills including the two largest, Defense and Labor-HHS-Education.

Politics aside, everyone hates burpees

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii and Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Massachusetts discuss men's health with Clyde McGrady. (Jinitzail Hernández/CQ Roll Call)

It's 7 a.m. on a Wednesday and the sun isn't even warm yet. Do you know where your congressman is? He might be working out outside Longworth while Rep. Markwayne Mullin makes fun of him.

Lawmakers put funding ban on human embryo gene editing research in Ag. bill
The rider bars the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos

From left, Reps. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., attend a House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY 2019 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill in Rayburn Building on July 25, 2018. By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language banning the funding of research involving the gene editing of human embryos, which has been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Appropriators did some soul searching Tuesday before deciding to include a policy rider in the fiscal 2020 Agriculture spending bill that would bar the Food and Drug Administration from approving research that involves gene-editing of human embryos.

By voice vote, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., to put back language that had been in the spending bill since fiscal 2016 but was omitted in the draft bill approved on May 23 by the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

Trump backtracks from comment that U.K. health service would be part of trade talks
Outgoing PM May on Tuesday appeared to leave wiggle room in nascent negotiations

British Prime Minister Theresa May, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday. Trump backtracked from a pledge that the U.K.'s National Health Service would be part of trade deal talks. (Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Attempting to keep hopes of a sweeping U.S.-U.K. trade pact alive, President Donald Trump reversed himself by taking Britain’s National Health Service off the table.

I don't see it being on the table. Somebody asked me a question today and I say everything is up for negotiation, because everything is but I don't see that being,” the U.S. leader told “Good Morning Britain” on ITV in an interview that aired Wednesday morning. “That's something that I would not consider part of trade. That's not trade.”

‘It is my body, not the state's’, Busy tells Judiciary Committee

Actor Busy Philipps prepares to testify during House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties hearing titled "Threats to Reproductive Rights in America," on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. Philipps talked about her decision to have an abortion at age 15. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

"I am not speaking about birth, sir, I am speaking about abortion," former Dawson's Creek actress Busy Philipps told Rep. Louie Gohmert in a heated exchange.

Abortion politics: Warning of ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ versus a $41 million budget
House hearing examines restrictive state laws as anti-abortion group promises major 2020 push

Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., described his home state of Virginia as “ground zero in the fight over late-term abortions.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Laws passed by Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana, which conservatives hope will spur the Supreme Court to reverse the nationwide guarantee of a right to abortion, were the focus of heated partisan debate at a House hearing Tuesday.

Democrats on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties said the laws place an undue burden on women seeking abortion, while Republicans said they are about protecting life.

Abortion-rights groups sue HHS over conscience rule
It’s the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that may affect abortion and contraception access

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, speaks at an abortion-rights rally at Supreme Court in Washington to protest new state bans on abortion services on May 21, 2019. On Tuesday several abortion-rights and LGBT advocacy groups announced they would file a challenge a Trump Administration rule that may affect access to abortion and contraception. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several abortion-rights and LGBT advocacy groups announced Tuesday that they filed the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that could affect access to abortion and contraception.

The challenge comes a week after state attorneys general filed different lawsuits also attempting to block the final rule from going into effect this year.

Missouri’s last abortion provider could close as early as Friday
Planned Parenthood alleges that the state is refusing to renew its licensing agreement

Hundreds of women and supporters attend a protest rally over recent restrictive abortion laws on May 21, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri. Planned Parenthood announced it would file a lawsuit with the Circuit Court in St. Louis Tuesday to keep its last abortion provider open, in an effort to keep providing abortions. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

Missouri could become the first state in the country without a single abortion provider as soon as Friday, according to Planned Parenthood.

The group alleges that the state is refusing to renew its licensing agreement, days after the governor signed into law one of the toughest abortion bans in the country.