Medicaid

Democrats Pan Proposal to Limit Green Cards for Poor Immigrants
Administration touts rule as moving toward ‘merit-based’ immigration

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement that “those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers are criticizing a new rule proposed by the Trump administration that would make it harder for immigrants who receive public benefits to obtain green cards.

The 447-page proposed rule, unveiled by the Department of Homeland Security on Saturday, would expand the government’s ability to deny a green card — and eventual citizenship — to applicants deemed likely to rely on programs including Medicaid, Section 8 low-income housing, and food stamps. The proposed rule represents a significant step in the administration’s efforts to move toward a “merit-based” immigration system, rather than the family-based system currently in place.

How Congress Made CHIP a Budgetary Boondoggle
Lawmakers have routinely used the Children’s Health Insurance Program to fund other priorities

Senator Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., is a lonely voice in opposition to the way CHIP funds are being used. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s getting harder and harder not to think of the nation’s signature health insurance program for children who aren’t quite poor enough to qualify for Medicaid as a “slush fund” to tap for other congressional priorities.

Lawmakers are on the verge of wringing another $7.7 billion in budgetary savings out of the Children’s Health Insurance Program to finance the discretionary portion of the Department of Health and Human Services’ fiscal 2019 budget, among other expenses in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations conference report. That would bring the CHIP offsets tally to $58.3 billion since the GOP House takeover after the 2010 midterms, according to a review of Labor-HHS-Education spending laws over the past nine years.

He Made Politics a Knockdown Brawl. (Hint: It Wasn’t Trump)
Contrary to the cries of ‘It’s never been worse,’ politics has always been personal, passionate and contentious

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams didn’t found America with backslaps and empty platitudes. They were as passionate as any politician since, write Heineman and Beebe. (Courtesy White House Historical Association and National Gallery of Art)

OPINION — In the presidential election of 1800, John Adams’ camp, through the Connecticut Courant newspaper, said that should Thomas Jefferson win the presidency, the United States would become a nation where “murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced.”

Jefferson’s camp in turn accused Adams of being a “gross hypocrite” and “one of the most egregious fools on the continent.”

Candidates Get Candid About Their Cancer Diagnoses in TV Ads
Democrats open up about personal medical struggles to talk about health care

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill is just the latest candidate to talk about her own cancer diagnosis in a campaign ad this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill got personal in a recent ad, talking about something that she’s never addressed in a political spot before: cancer — specifically, her own diagnosis.

“Two years ago, I beat breast cancer,” the two-term Democrat says to camera. “Like thousands of other women in Missouri, I don’t talk about it much.”

Pelosi, Dems Slam Trump Over Hurricane Response
A year after Maria and Irma, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands still need help, they say

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says the Trump administration has a moral obligation to do better than it has in its response to Hurricanes Maria and Irma last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had long been planning to convene a press conference Friday to talk about the ongoing recovery needs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands a year after two hurricanes hit the American territories. She didn’t know President Donald Trump would fire off tweets Thursday accusing Democrats of inflating the hurricane’s death toll.

But the president choosing to “add salt to the wounds,” as Pelosi described it, only underscored her message that the federal response to Hurricane Maria has been woefully inadequate.  

Trump Wants to Freeze It. But Federal Pay Isn’t Driving Deficits
‘There’s a misconception that federal employees are all affluent,’ one advocate says

Rep. Barbara Comstock and other vulnerable House Republicans might have difficulty explaining a federal pay freeze to their constituents. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal worker compensation, repeatedly used as a piggy bank to fund other priorities earlier this decade, is once again in budget cutters’ crosshairs. The latest catalyst is President Donald Trump’s desire to shrink costs associated with the “administrative state,” both by freezing civil workers’ pay next year and making them contribute more to their pensions.

The pay freeze issue is coming to a head as soon as this month, when Congress decides whether to incorporate Trump’s proposal or allow a 1.9 percent boost to federal worker pay next year, as contained in a bipartisan Senate spending package approved on a 92-6 vote last month.

At the Races: Who's in Trouble Two Months Out
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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

What John McCain and That Thumbs-Down Meant to One Family
After covering the Arizona senator for years, one vote stood out more than others

As a reporter, Megan Scully, right, covered Sen. John McCain for years, but it was one vote in particular she will remember him by. (CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — I have spent so much time chasing Sen. John McCain around the Capitol that I joked my kids could recognize his voice from the womb. I regularly grabbed him in the Senate basement or outside the chamber to ask about overruns on the F-35 fighter jet or progress on the massive annual Pentagon policy bill.

He was usually more than happy to oblige. My beat, after all, was his sweet spot: oversight of the country’s massive security apparatus.

House Committee Pledges to Roll Back More Medicare Regulations
Regulatory burdens now come at expense of patient care, Roskam says

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., says regulatory burdens placed on health care providers by Medicare is compromising patient care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ways and Means Committee said it would continue exploring ways to reduce regulations in Medicare, after issuing a report last week on its conversations with health care providers.

While light on specifics, the committee said it is engaging in “ongoing dialogue” with the Trump administration over where legislative solutions are needed to reduce what it deems unnecessary regulations.

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.