Medicare

Ocasio-Cortez, Himes to teach Democrats how to up their Twitter game
Party will have to grapple with whether her followers came from AOC’s facility with the platform or her ideas

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., will coach her fellow Democrats on how to do Twitter well. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has swiftly become the most popular member of Congress on Twitter, will teach a class Thursday morning hosted by House Democrats’ messaging arm on how to make better use of the site.

The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee tapped  Ocasio-Cortez and Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes to coach the Democratic caucus “on the most effective ways to engage constituents on Twitter and the importance of digital storytelling,” USA Today reported.

Rep. Ilhan Omar likens access to medicine in US to that in her native Somalia
Freshman congresswoman shares story of her aunt who died in Somalia for lack of insulin

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. speaks at a news conference with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the Capitol to introduce a legislative package that would lower prescription drug prices in the U.S. on January 10, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar shared that her aunt died of “diabetic shock” in Somalia when she was 21 years old because she did not have access to medication, and said the fact that this sort of tragedy can happen in a country as wealthy as the United States is a “mark of shame.”

“There are people in the developing world who are dying because they don’t have access to health care or they don’t have access to medicine. My aunt was one of those people,” said Omar, whose family resettled in Minnesota as refugees after fleeing the civil war in their native Somalia.

White House to put Medicare cuts on hold during shutdown
Pay-as-you-go law would force cuts if shutdown lingers until Jan. 24

If the shutdown lingers until Jan. 24, under current law, the OMB would be forced to slice around $839 million from nonexempt programs across the government. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration won’t order up a round of cuts in federal benefit programs, primarily Medicare, if the partial government shutdown remains in effect later this month, a senior Office of Management and Budget official said.

If the shutdown lingers until Jan. 24, under current law, the OMB would be forced to slice around $839 million from nonexempt programs across the government. That number represents the figure left on the pay-as-you-go “scorecard” for 2018, specifying the net amount added to the fiscal 2019 deficit by laws enacted last year, excluding emergency spending that is exempt from the calculation.

House adopts rules package with few Democratic defections over PAYGO provision
Package establishes two select committees, requires committee action before floor votes, among other changes

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., swears in members in the House chamber on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, 2019. Later that afternoon the House adopted its rules package for new Congress. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday adopted the bulk of a rules package for the 116th Congress that featured dozens of changes designed to restore more committee and bipartisan involvement in the legislative process, increase transparency and clamp down on ethics violations. 

The measure, adopted 234 to 197, was crafted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., with input from members across all factions of the House Democratic majority.

Vulnerable new Democrats savor first day as 2020 looms
Democrats now shift to defense after winning back the House

Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Okla., said voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker was in the best interest of her district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Standing a few strides away from the House floor on Thursday, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips put his arm around another new Democrat, Haley Stevens of Michigan.

“It’s for real!” Phillips exclaimed.

Shutdown, House Democrats’ divisions set tone as new era of divided government begins
As 116th Congress begins, partial shutdown, rules package, speaker defections cast a pall

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is interviewed by Savannah Guthrie for the Today Show in the Capitol on day 12 of the partial government shutdown on January 2, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new era of divided government has arrived. Democrats officially take control of the House on Thursday as the 116th Congress convenes on the 13th day of a partial government shutdown.

The day’s floor proceedings will offer a preview of what’s to come over the next two years as House Democrats define how far left their caucus will tilt heading into the 2020 cycle and decide whether there’s any room to cooperate with President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election.

An initial rating of the 2020 presidential race
Campaign fundamentals, polling and events point to close contest

As President Donald Trump gears up for re-election, many of the fundamentals of the race point to a competitive and close contest. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win in 2016, and after his election I wrote an entire column in The Washington Post examining my analysis and mistakes. Now older, hopefully a little wiser, and definitely more cautious, I turn to the 2020 presidential contest, which has already started.

My initial rating is based on a combination of Trump’s current standing, his electoral performance in 2016, his party’s performance in 2018, questions about the Democratic Party’s ability to unite behind a broadly appealing nominee next year, and assumptions about the economy and state of the nation a year and a half from now.

Opposition to Pay-As-You-Go Proposal Prevents Unity on House Democrats’ Rules Package
Other changes designed to open up the legislative process have broad support

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said he will oppose House Democrats’ rules package for the 116th Congress because of a provision known as pay-as-you-go or PAYGO that requires offsets for deficit increasing legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats’ rules for the 116th Congress contain a wide array of consensus changes, but a pay-as-you-go provision that would require offsets for deficit-increasing legislation is preventing party unity on the package. 

At least two progressive members, California Rep. Ro Khanna and New York Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said they will oppose the rules package because of the provision. 

My Dream 2020 Candidate — Someone to Heal America‘s Wounds

Who will be there for the balloon drop at the 2020 Democratic National Convention? Regardless, Walter Shapiro writes that the ideal 2020 presidential candidate will be someone who can heal America's wounds and is competent when it comes to governing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — As an alumnus of Newsweek and Time in their glory days, I sometimes can’t resist thinking like a news-magazine editor. Any news event — the government shutdown, the withdrawal from Syria, the Brexit mess — can be summarized by that all-purpose cover line, “NOW FOR THE HARD PART.”

Similarly, the obvious cover for next Monday would be a race track starting gate with more than a dozen familiar Democrats (“There’s Bernie, there’s Beto, there’s Biden, there’s Booker...“) leaning forward in their saddles as the cliché-ridden headline proclaims, “AND THEY’RE OFF.”

Postal Service Prayer: Deliver Us From Fiscal Doom
White House stops short of calls for outright privatization, but big changes could lie ahead

United States Postal Service employee Gloria Hinton participates in a rally in Washington in 2011. Over the last decade, mail volume has tanked but package delivery has become more important than ever. The White House is calling for a legislative overhaul, but conflict with Congress could get in the way. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

The United States Postal Service faces a major policy shakeup at a time when package delivery has become more central to Americans’ lives than ever.

A growing reliance on e-commerce has driven demand for direct-to-door shipping for everything from textbooks to toothbrushes. And to the casual observer, USPS is playing what looks like a seamless part in the process, with more and more packages delivered the “last mile” to customers’ doors by government workers.