Peter Welch

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.

Trump Targets Drug Pricing in Trade Agreements
‘It’s unfair, it’s ridiculous and it’s not going to happen any longer’

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar testifies during a Ways and Means Committee hearing on the FY2019 budget for HHS in Longworth Building on February 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump has instructed trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer to grant the drug industry’s wish of making pharmaceutical prices a “top priority” in negotiations with other countries.

Trump revealed the instruction during a Friday announcement unveiling the administration’s overall strategy for lowering drug costs.

House Democrats Punt on Leadership Question After Anti-Pelosi Candidate Wins
Caucus members say individual candidates should decide whether to run on calls for a leadership change

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., left, hosts a reception in honor of Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, in the Capitol on Wednesday. The Democrats’ most likely new member ran amid promises to not support her as caucus leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After four straight elections falling short of the majority, House Democrats have had their fair share of discussions about their caucus leadership and whether it’s time for a change. But with momentum on their side in the current cycle, they’re not yet ready to revisit those talks — even after the strong special election performance of a Democratic candidate who pledged not to support Nancy Pelosi in another bid for Democratic leader.

Democrat Conor Lamb led Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania’s 18th District special election, with all precincts reporting but the final outcome still undetermined at press time. Lamb’s expected victory is significant in a district President Donald Trump carried by nearly 20 points in 2016, although Republicans downplayed the chances of Democrats replicating that success in similar districts.

Opinion: Trump’s Political Retribution Threatens Palestinian Lives and Israeli Security
We can’t allow bruised egos to endanger our nation’s interests

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip carry bags of provisions after unloading them from a truck at an UNRWA distribution center in 2004. (Ahmad Khateib/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration’s decision to withhold funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA, abandons millions of vulnerable refugees, jeopardizes Israel’s security and undermines the credibility and interests of the United States in the Middle East.

Since 1949, UNRWA has provided health care, education, stable housing and other vital services to Palestinians displaced by conflict who live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories. While the United Nations, the European Union and other governmental and private-sector partners also fund UNRWA, the United States has historically been the largest single contributor.

Correspondence With Congressional Offices ‘Through the Roof’
Offices get hundreds of calls each day, from drunk calls to ‘racist’ rants to threats

Interns struggle to wheel a 20,000-page tower of health care rules and regulations from the Capitol to the Russell Building in March 2013. Interns and staffers are struggling with an increased load of correspondence and calls from constituents, many of them angry. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Maple Syrup Keeps Welch’s Colleagues and Constituents Happy
Vermont Democrat brings his own to breakfast

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., brings maple syrup back to work in D.C. from a farm next to his Vermont home. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Peter Welch knows how to make friends in Congress.

“If I give somebody maple syrup here, you’ve got a friend for life,” he said.

Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Called ‘Provocative,’ Counterproductive
‘He’s undercutting his own efforts at peacemaking,’ Rep. Welch says

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement in May with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. On Wednesday, Trump announced he is moving the American embassy to Jerusalem despite Muslim allies urging him against it. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump says his decision to buck the advice of America’s closest Muslim allies and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is part of a broader strategy shift needed to produce a Middle East peace pact. But some lawmakers and experts argue the president has unnecessarily undercut himself.

Trump on Wednesday formally announced he will abide by a 1995 U.S. law and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize that city as the country’s official capital. He noted that for the last 22 years, his predecessors have — despite some campaign-trail pledges to the contrary — exercised a waiver in that law to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.

Bipartisan Efforts Behind Coal Miner Pension Push
Manchin and Capito lead Senate effort, as miners return to Capitol Hill

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III, center, United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts, center left, and coal miners arrive for a Tuesday press conference on the introduction of legislation to protect miner pension benefits. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The coal miners are back.

Last fall, you couldn’t walk through the Capitol’s hallways without running into mine workers wearing camouflage T-shirts.

Rank-and-File Lawmakers Not Feeling It on Grand Immigration Deal
Pairing DACA replacement with border security seen as a bad idea

House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda T. Sánchez says the so-called DREAM Act must be part of an immigration deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Friday 1:42 p.m. | President Donald Trump and congressional leaders see the most likely legislative path to replacing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as pairing it with border security. But rank-and-file members of both parties think that’s a bad idea.

“We’re going to get ourselves in a quagmire if we allow there to be a linkage because of such disputes and debates here among the hard-line immigration crew about what should be linked,” Vermont Democratic Rep. Peter Welch said, adding that there were members for whom there could never be “enough security.”

Trump Open to Bigger Tax Bill for Richest Americans in Pursuit of Dems
President: ‘The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan’

President Donald Trump expressed a willingness to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans Wednesday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Updated at 6:19 p.m. | Eager to garner Democratic support for a still-emerging tax overhaul package, President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed a willingness to send larger tax bills to the wealthiest Americans.

During a meeting with lawmakers from both parties, Trump pledged that he wants lawmakers to craft a bill focused on slashing middle-class tax rates and doing things to create jobs — code for a dramatic corporate tax rate cut.