Human Services

Education Funding, Eaten Up by Pell Grants, Once Again on Menu
Senate hasn’t debated education appropriations for 11 years. Since then, a lot has changed

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos isn’t seeing eye to eye with Senate appropriators on education priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While military and health care costs have received plenty of airtime in recent years, the federal education budget hasn’t gotten a thorough vetting on the Senate floor since 2007. That will change if the Senate takes up later this week a massive $856.9 billion spending bill for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and a smattering of smaller agencies.

In the 11-year stretch since the full Senate last debated education appropriations, the Great Recession came and went, exploding the number of students either finding themselves out of work or in need of retraining.

7 Ways the Senate Can Spend the Rest of August
A few real problems have bubbled up while senators were away

There’s no shortage of things for senators to do while in town this month, Murphy writes. Above, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol for a vote in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Welcome back to the grind, senators and staff. If you were only watching cable news over your abridged recess, you might have been lulled into the idea that the only messes in Washington you would come back to were Omarosa’s habit of recording conversations in the Situation Room and what we’ve learned so far about Paul Manafort’s choice of outerwear from his trial — ostrich. So gross.

But while some in the D.C. media were caught up in the Trump train wrecks of the day, a few real problems bubbled up while you were gone. Somebody has to deal with them, so as long as you’re here — why not you?

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.

Other Politicians Held, Recently Sold Stock That Got Chris Collins Arrested
Tom Price, Doug Lamborn among those who hold or sold Innate Immunotherapeutics stock

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, testifies at his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on January 24, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

At least six other politicians have recently owned or sold stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics, the Austrailian company at the center of New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins’ recent arrest.

In 2017, Tom Price sold between $250,001 and $500,000 of Innate Immunotherapeutics stock on one occasion and between $15,000 and $50,000 on another, according to the Office of Government Ethics.

Margaret Heckler, Through the Years With Bikes, Bread and Cake
Former congresswoman, HHS secretary, ambassador to Ireland dies at 87

Rep. Margaret M. Heckler, R-Mass. and Rep. Robert C. Eckhardt, D-Texas, ride bikes in front of Capitol Hill. (Mickey Senko/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Margaret M. Heckler, a Massachusetts Republican who went on to become Health and Human Services secretary and later ambassador to Ireland, died Monday at the age of 87, but not before leaving behind some indelibly light-hearted images from her Capitol Hill days using some pedal power — with various foodstuffs. 

Heckler, born on June 21, 1931, was first elected to Congress in 1966, and did it in dramatic fashion before even getting to the general election. She defeated Massachusetts Rep. Joseph W. Martin Jr., the former speaker of the House, in a  Republican primary.

Florida Candidate Goes All-In on Impeachment Message
David Richardson hopes to stand out against Donna Shalala in 27th District primary

Florida state Rep. David Richardson is making impeaching the president a big focus of his message ahead of the Aug. 28 Democratic primary. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While national Democrats are urging candidates to steer clear of talking about impeaching President Donald Trump, Florida state Rep. David Richardson is going all-in on that very message ahead of the Democratic primary later this month in the open 27th District. 

In a new ad released Monday, Richardson touts his introduction of an impeachment resolution in the state Legislature and calls out his top Democratic opponent, Donna Shalala, for not talking about the issue. 

Senate’s Out for Truncated August Recess
Judicial nominations and spending bills await when senators return in mid-August

Senators, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, left the Capitol on Wednesday for a short August recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators may be skipping the traditional August recess, but that does not mean they will be spending too much time on Capitol Hill.

Just before the Senate adjourned shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado had the responsibility of getting several district judges confirmed, passing remaining legislative items and — perhaps most importantly — announcing the schedule.

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.

Senate Democrats Slam Trump Officials Over Family Separations
Durbin called on the Homeland Security secretary to resign

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., cites a tweet by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Hart Building on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats on Tuesday criticized the Trump administration’s efforts to reunify hundreds of undocumented migrant children who remain separated from their parents as a result of the president’s zero-tolerance border security policy — including many whose parents have already been deported.

Officials from the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services told the Senate Judiciary Committee that their court-ordered work to reunify separated families is unfinished. 

‘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.