The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, posted when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

• Lawmakers are working on a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded into at least November. Current government spending expires Oct. 1.

• President Donald Trump will travel west for several political events between visits from foreign leaders from Bahrain and Australia bookending his week.

• Trump presents New York Yankee legend and Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

HOUSE

  • The House is in session Tuesday through Friday. The agenda includes legislation to fund the government into November.
  • The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday will mark up 16 bills focused on conservation.
  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler will testify Thursday on science and technology at EPA in a hearing before the House Science Committee.
  • The full list of this week’s House committee activity can be found here.

SENATE

  • The Senate will continue to work through Trump’s nominees for ambassadorships and other administration positions.
  • Labor Secretary nominee Eugene Scalia will appear Thursday before the Senate HELP Committee.
  • Senate appropriators hope to pass three funding bills this week, after partisan sniping over abortion and border wall funding delayed progress last week.
  • The current list of Senate committee activity can be found here.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Trump today will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rivera and later will meet with Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.
  • Tonight Trump will hold a political rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before traveling to California for several fundraisers Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Trump on Friday will host his administration’s second state dinner, this time with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

PELOSI DRUG PRICE PLAN EXPECTED THIS WEEK

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is expected to release her long-awaited plan this week to address prescription drug costs, according to congressional staff.

A draft summary of the proposal that circulated last week would allow the government to negotiate prices with manufacturers on 250 drugs and impose sweeping fines on companies that failed to participate. The negotiated price – which manufacturers say would be de facto price controls – also would extend to the prices of drugs sold through commercial insurance.

Two House committees plan to vote on Pelosi’s bill in the coming weeks, setting up a potential vote on the House floor by the end of October. In an apparent nod to President Donald Trump’s proposal to base physician-administered drug prices on an index of prices paid in certain European countries, Pelosi would copy that formulation for Medicare Part D drugs, too.

Trump so far hasn’t said – or tweeted – anything about the Democrats’ proposal. A White House statement last week praised Pelosi for offering the proposal but didn’t address specific policies.

A full-throated Trump endorsement of even the International Pricing Index portion of the speaker’s proposal could upend the political dynamic among congressional Republicans. But for now, House Republican leadership aides say they don’t expect any GOP lawmakers to support Pelosi’s plan.

Meanwhile, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is pushing for a floor vote on his committee-passed drug price legislation – in part by saying his proposal is more moderate than the emerging House Democrats’ plan. But Grassley’s bill, which would impose inflationary caps on price increases on Part D drugs, split committee Republicans and has drawn sharp criticism from other GOP lawmakers.

It’s doubtful Grassley’s bill as currently written could win the 60 votes needed for passage in the Senate, where aides say the mostly likely outcome is that bipartisan provisions get plucked from Grassley’s bill and other legislation and are added to a year-end spending and tax measure. Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

UPDATE ON DRUG PRICING LEGISLATION AS CONGRESS RECONVENES

Congress reconvenes this week after a monthlong summer recess and begins what likely will be a final push toward overhauling prescription drug prices, but lack of consensus on the underlying policy and the intensifying 2020 presidential campaign will complicate efforts to advance a bill to President Donald Trump’s desk.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is finalizing long-awaited legislation centering on price negotiation for drugs that lack competition, and she could introduce legislation as soon as this week. But the secretive process – even to most members of the Democratic Caucus – is causing frustration. Progressive lawmakers say the speaker’s plan may not go far enough on calling for government negotiation with manufacturers over prices.

Also in the House, the bipartisan leadership of the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees are trying to work out details of a separate bill, which could see committee votes in the coming weeks. That effort focuses on the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, including creating an out-of-pocket cap for beneficiaries. Other provisions, such as cracking down on surprise medical bills, could be attached, too.

Continue Reading

The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, posted when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

• Congress returns this week from its six-week summer recess, with 40 legislative days remaining in 2019.

• Democrats this week are focusing on gun control measures, attempting to pressure Republicans in the wake of multiple mass shootings this summer.

• Senate appropriators are taking up several bills this week as lawmakers face a Sept. 30 deadline to fund the government.

HOUSE

  • The House is in session tonight through Thursday. The agenda includes legislation to block oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
  • The House Judiciary Committee will vote on a series of bills addressing gun violence, and also expects a procedural vote on authorizing rules for potential impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
  • The Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee will hold a hearing on protecting chemical facilities from terrorism.
  • The full list of this week’s House committee activity can be found here.

SENATE

  • The Senate plans to take up the nomination of Kelly Craft to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to vote on four different funding bills.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria tomorrow will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on housing finance reform.
  • The current list of Senate committee activity can be found here.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Trump tonight will hold a political rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in support of Republican congressional candidate Dan Bishop, who faces Democrat Dan McCready in a special election.
  • On Wednesday, Trump will participate in a moment of silence in observance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and will also participate in a remembrance ceremony at the Pentagon.
  • Later in the week, he will travel to Baltimore to speak at the Republican congressional retreat.

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session.

MAJOR HEALTH POLICY UNLIKELY IN POTENTIAL DEBT-SPENDING DEAL

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Trump administration edge closer to a sweeping agreement to avoid a government shutdown and debt default, it’s increasingly unlikely major healthcare provisions will be included.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been working to permanently lift sequester-imposed budget caps as well as the extend the government’s borrowing authority through July 2012. Mnuchin has warned that without congressional action Washington could reach the debt ceiling shortly after Labor Day. Continue Reading

The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, posted when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

• Negotiators are seeking to wrap up an agreement on raising the debt limit and budget caps, with the House in its final week before a six-week August recess.

• President Donald Trump today is hosting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

• Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify on the Hill regarding the findings of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

HOUSE

  • The House is in session Tuesday through Friday. The agenda includes legislation to address the multiemployer pension system, as well as noncontroversial health program reauthorizations. Lawmakers also could vote on a debt limit and budget caps bill.
  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify Wednesday at the House Judiciary Committee regarding possible obstruction of justice by Trump, followed by testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Russian interference in U.S. elections.
  • The House Oversight Committee on Friday will hold a hearing on patient perspectives on drug prices.
  • The full list of this week’s House committee activity can be found here.

SENATE

  • The Senate plans to vote on a House-passed bill to permanently extend funding for first responders and others suffering from health problems resulting from the 9/11 attacks. Senators will also take up Mark Esper’s nomination to be Defense secretary, among other Trump nominations.
  • The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on the derivatives market and Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
  • The Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on Tuesday will hold an oversight hearing on enforcement of antitrust laws.
  • The current list of Senate committee activity can be found here.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Trump today is hosting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss counterterrorism, energy and trade.
  • Trump on Tuesday will speak at Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit, and meet with Republican senators.
  • Later in the week, he will speak at a fundraiser in West Virginia for his re-election campaign.

The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, posted when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

• The House will vote to hold in contempt Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and will also vote on raising the federal minimum wage.

• Senators will vote on four bilateral tax treaties, and continue votes on President Donald Trump’s nominees for judgeships and ambassadorships.

• Big tech faces a potentially tough week on the Hill, with multiple hearings in both chambers.

HOUSE

  • The House is in session today through Thursday. A contempt resolution targets Barr and Ross for failing to comply with Oversight Committee subpoenas regarding the 2020 census. The House agenda also includes legislation to raise the minimum wage, and reauthorization of intelligence activities.
  • The House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday on competition in the tech industry, with executives from Google and other tech companies.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday on wireless policy and spectrum.
  • The full list of this week’s House committee activity can be found here.

SENATE

  • The Senate plans to take up tax treaties with Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Japan, and also will vote on two judicial nominees and two ambassadorships.
  • The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a hearing Tuesday on “Google and Censorship through Search Engines.”
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper to lead the Pentagon.
  • The current list of Senate committee activity can be found here.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Trump today is participating in his third annual Made in America product showcase.
  • Trump on Tuesday will hold a Cabinet meeting.
  • Later in the week, he will hold a campaign rally in North Carolina, then host Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the White House.

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session.

SENATORS RACE TO FINISH DRUG PRICING BILL AS TRUMP PLANS STALL

With only 15 legislative days before a scheduled monthlong recess, Senate leaders are scrambling this week to seek consensus on ambitious legislation to lower prescription drug prices, particularly after major pharmaceutical industry initiatives by the Trump administration were derailed last week.

Senate Finance Committee leaders Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., have been working for months on a package of bills to lower drug prices – and they are hinting a deal is close.

The senators appear to have agreed on the outlines of a plan that would impose inflation caps on prices for drugs in the Medicare Part D program by requiring manufacturers to pay rebates to the government if prices rise faster than inflation. Multiple price transparency provisions are also expected to be included. Continue Reading

The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.HEADLINES

• The House and Senate return from their weeklong July 4 recess, continuing negotiations to raise budget caps and the debt limit.

• The White House has planned a social media summit to discuss challenges and opportunities in the online environment.

• Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will testify regarding monetary policy before House and Senate committees.

HOUSE

  • The House is in session Tuesday through Friday and will vote on the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
  • The Financial Services Committee on Wednesday will hold a hearing on monetary policy with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
  • The Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday will hold a hearing on cybersecurity threats to the power grid.

SENATE

  • The Senate returns today and will continue voting on President Trump’s judicial and administrative nominees.
  • The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday will review monetary policy with Powell.
  • The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday will consider a dozen wide-ranging bills, as well as nominations.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Today at the White House, Trump plans to deliver a speech regarding the environment.
  • Tonight he will attend a dinner with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. He will meet with Al Thani again tomorrow.
  • Thursday he will speak at the Presidential Social Media Summit.

The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, posted when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

•  Both chambers of Congress are planning to take up spending bills to address the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

•  President Donald Trump will sign an order on healthcare costs, then late this week will travel to Japan for the G20 Summit in Osaka.

•  Democratic contenders for the 2020 presidential nomination will take part in their first debates Wednesday and Thursday.

HOUSE

  • The House is in session today through Thursday. Lawmakers are continuing to vote on spending bills, including a supplemental package addressing humanitarian needs at the Southern border.
  • The Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing titled “Mexico’s Labor Reform: Opportunities and Challenges for an Improved NAFTA.”
  • The House Financial Services Committee continues its busy schedule, including hearings on fintech and artificial intelligence.
  • The full list of this week’s House committee activity can be found here.

SENATE

  • The Senate will continue consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act, and also will take up a supplemental spending bill addressing the Southern border crisis.
  • The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on reauthorization and oversight of the Export-Import Bank.
  • The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on algorithmic decision-making and machine learning on internet platforms.
  • The current list of Senate committee activity can be found here.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Trump this afternoon will sign an executive order compelling disclosure of prices in healthcare, according to reports.
  • Thursday he will travel to Osaka for the G20 Summit, where he will meet with President Xi Jinping of China for the first time since December.
  • Democrats contending to challenge Trump in 2020 will hold their first debates this week.
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