Divided Country Votes for Divided Congress

Democrats capitalized on President Donald Trump’s unpopularity in suburban districts to capture the House majority, but the president helped turn out Republican voters in states he won two years ago to add to the GOP’s Senate majority.

Democrats needed to win a net of 23 House seats to gain control, and as of early Wednesday, they had won 27. Of the 21 House races still undecided, Republicans are leading in 13 and Democrats are leading in eight.

Republicans headed into Election Day with 51 Senate seats. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., lost his re-election, but the GOP defeated Democrat incumbents in Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota. Republican candidates lead as of Wednesday morning in too-close-to-call Arizona and Florida. It’s possible Republicans could have as many as 54 Senate seats in 2019, the most since 2005.

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Webinar: What Will the Election Results Mean for Your Business?

What do the midterm congressional election results mean for the policies that are important to your company? What should you be tracking right now? What do you need to know now, before it reaches the front pages?

We have your exclusive, over-the-horizon look at what the elections mean for the policies that matter to your company, with two former congressmen – one Republican and one Democrat.

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Midterm Election Preview Webinar

Will Republicans lose their majority in the House in next month’s midterm elections but gain seats in the Senate? Can Democrats sweep and win both the House and Senate? Or will Republicans defy the odds – and history – by maintaining their congressional majorities?

We’ll discuss all the key House and Senate campaigns, the latest polling, Trump’s impact on the elections and sleeper races around the country during a special “2018 Midterm Election Preview” webinar with former Congressman Mike Ferguson, who leads Baker Hostetler’s Federal Policy team, and election forecaster Jim Ellis.

You’ll be able to ask Mike and Jim about key races you’re following – but only if you register for the webinar. Mark your calendar for Baker Hostetler’s “2018 Midterm Election Preview” webinar beginning at 1:30 pm EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 23. (Feel free to share this blog with colleagues or friends whom you think would be interested in an insider’s perspective on the upcoming elections.)

The Weekly Hill Update

Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, published each week when Congress is in session.


• After the partisan fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Senate this week will take up a water infrastructure bill and then consider nominees to Executive Branch agencies.

• President Donald Trump on Tuesday has lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who over the weekend met with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and also visited Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing.

• The rest of Trump’s week is dominated by campaign stops for Republican congressional candidates. Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session. Highlights this week: The Senate will give the final OK to opioids legislation, HHS gets full-year funding for the first time in forever, new bipartisan legislation would allow FDA to update labels on older generic drugs, and more.

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The Weekly Hill Update

Below is the federal policy team’s weekly preview, published each week when Congress is in session.


• All eyes remain on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, as the FBI proceeds with its one-week investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

• The Senate begins the week by taking up a long-term Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization, and may also proceed to a water infrastructure bill. A floor vote on Kavanaugh remains possible at the end of the week.

• President Donald Trump’s week is focused on campaign stops for Republican midterm candidates throughout the country.

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House Votes Today on ‘Tax Reform 2.0,’ But Senate Action Unlikely Before Elections

The House today is likely to approve legislation to make permanent the individual and small-business tax cuts that Congress enacted in 2017, but the Senate won’t consider the measure before the November midterm elections.

Today’s vote is part of a three-bill package of tax relief dubbed “Tax Reform 2.0.” The House on Thursday approved legislation by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., that would expand retirement savings incentives and legislation by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., to expand tax breaks for startups.

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House Panel Examines Sports Betting in Wake of Court Ruling

Four months after the Supreme Court struck down a federal law banning states from authorizing sports betting, a House panel Thursday will examine how states are legalizing gambling on football, baseball and other sporting events.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations also will discuss whether there is an appropriate role for the federal government in the wake of the court’s ruling.

Witnesses include Jocelyn Moore of the National Football League, Les Bernal of the group Stop Predatory Gambling, Sara Slane of the American Gaming Association, Jon Bruning of the Coalition to Stop Online Gambling and Becky Harris of the Gaming Control Board.

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Trump: I Won’t Shut Down the Government (Yet)

The House on Wednesday gave final congressional approval to a fiscal 2019 spending bill covering 70 percent of the government’s discretionary operations, and President Donald Trump said he would sign it into law – temporarily avoiding a partisan fight that could lead to a government shutdown.

The sweeping spending package includes full-year funding for the Defense Department as well as health, education and labor programs. The Pentagon would receive $674 billion, an increase of nearly $20 billion over current funding. The Department of Health and Human Services would receive $90 billion, a 2 percent increase, and the Department of Labor would receive a 1 percent boost – to $12 billion. The Education Department would receive $71 billion.

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