Peter Welch

Mulvaney hosting Camp David meeting with Yarmuth, others
Mulvaney extended the invitation but didn't provide any details of the subject matter of the agenda

Mick Mulvaney, right, then the Office of Management and Budget director, arrives for a Jan. 3, 2018, budget meeting then-Speaker Paul Ryan's office with White House legislative affairs director Marc Short, center, on Jan. 3, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A small group of Republican and Democratic House members are headed to Camp David after votes Friday to meet with White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, to see if they can find common ground on budget and other issues.

Mulvaney extended the invitation but didn't provide any details of the subject matter of the agenda.

Democrats kick off push for Medicare drug price negotiations
The measure includes tactics to urge drugmakers to reach an agreement with Medicare on a price

Reps. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, left, and Peter Welch, D-Vt., attend a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center with House and Senate Democrats on a report which they say shows prescription drug prices have risen under President Trump on May 10, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The leader of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on Thursday offered a proposal to require the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices for drugs covered by the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, is set to formally introduce the bill later Thursday with more than 100 House co-sponsors. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate backed by Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

Democrat apologizes for forgetting that slavery was a thing in the U.S.
‘Never in the history of this country’ has it been legal to make people work for free, Rep. Welch tweeted

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., apologized Tuesday for forgetting that slavery existed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Peter Welch did whatever the online iteration of “putting one’s foot in one’s mouth” is, Tuesday when he apparently forgot that slavery existed in the United States.

The Vermont Democrat was trying to publicize a bill he introduced Tuesday prohibiting government agencies from making their employees work without pay.  The bill would provide immediate backpay to federal workers that have been stiffed during the shutdown.

Nuclear Plants Go Belly Up in Democratic Districts. Then What?
Most declining plants are in blue areas, and Congress is taking notice

There wasn’t much celebration when the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant shut its doors — just worry over how to decommission. (Michael Springer/Getty Images file photo)

In Vermont, the relationship between the town of Vernon and its nuclear power plant, known as the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station, had always been contentious.

From 1970s-era antinuclear protests to more recent legal battles over a proposal to extend the plant’s license, Vermont residents and their state legislature kept a skeptical eye on the power source, which at one point provided some 70 percent of the state’s electricity.

Drug Prices Could Become a Divisive Issue for Democrats
Internal tensions over Big Pharma could be on full display next Congress

Divisions among Democrats over the pharmaceutical industry could hurt their party’s efforts to address high drug costs if they win a majority next year. (Courtesy iStock)

Democrats are making the cost of prescription drugs a pillar of the party’s health care agenda in the midterms, but if they win a majority for the 116th Congress, the party will have to grapple with internal divisions over the issue that might be magnified next year.

This campaign season has been notable for candidates pushing the party to reject corporate influence. For emboldened progressive Democrats, the party’s current plans might not be enough. Their views compete with those of new candidates from politically moderate areas with a big pharmaceutical industry presence that might be more inclined to join with longtime incumbents who sympathize more with the industry’s perspective.

Dems Have Walked Out Over Guns, and Now Kavanaugh
Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono aren’t the only ones to make a dramatic exit in the Trump era

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and a handful of other Democrats headed for the exits Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As a group of Democrats strode out of the hearing room Friday morning, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley wasn’t pleased.

“You folks who are photographers know that you’re supposed to sit down,” he said over the clicking cameras.

New Light on Dark Money Found in Study From Bipartisan Group
Explosion of secret donations to campaigns largely comes from handful of insider groups

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fl., and Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., hold a news conference to announce efforts to crack down on out-of-control campaign spending. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The explosion of so-called “dark money” in political campaigns can be largely traced to spending from 15 groups, according to a study released Wednesday by a non-partisan watchdog group.

The analysis by Issue One is the first attempt to catalog the influential and secretive spending by labor unions, corporations, mega-donors and other special interest groups flooding the American political system in the years since the landmark 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. Such a task is notoriously difficult because the organizations behind such spending are not legally required to disclose the sources of their money.

Staffer Comes up Short on ‘Jeopardy!’
Welch aide Isaac Loeb came prepared for D.C. and politics questions, but he got none

Isaac Loeb, a legislative aide for Vermont Democratic Rep. Peter Welch, tried twice before to be selected for “Jeopardy.” (Courtesy of Rep. Peter Welch's office)

Isaac Loeb, a Capitol Hill staffer, went on “Jeopardy!” armed for political and government questions but didn’t get a one.

“They love asking questions about D.C.,” said Loeb, 28. a legislative assistant for Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. “They’ll have ones about the Smithsonian or landmarks of D.C. but there weren’t any of those. I had access to all the museums, which is a wealth of ‘Jeopardy!’ knowledge. The American History Museum was pretty clutch in that regard.”

Do-Nothing Amendments Give Lawmakers Bragging Opportunity About Successes
Provisions have no real-world impact

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., is among the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents this midterm cycle. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House adopted amendments on a two-bill spending package last week purporting to redirect sums ranging from $100,000 to study the impact of a mineral found to cause cracking in concrete home foundations, to $36 million for “public safety and justice facility construction” at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

There’s just one catch: the provisions simply give the illusion of moving money around — with no real-world impact on agency funding priorities. The net financial impact of all 14 such amendments considered during debate on the $58.7 billion Interior-Environment and Financial Services measure — out of 87 total floor amendments on the bill — was precisely zero.

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.