Melanie Zanona

Senators Push to Keep Seniors From Doctor Shopping for Opioids

Bipartisan legislation aimed at blocking Medicare recipients from shopping for doctors and pharmacists likely to prescribe opioids could help address the national prescription drug abuse epidemic, Senate Finance Committee Democrats said at a hearing Tuesday. But they urged Republicans to broaden their approach to encourage more addiction treatment.

Democrats Probe NFL Strategy on Brain Research Grant

A group of House Democrats are questioning whether the National Football League tried to influence the selection of scientists for a $16 million National Institutes of Health-funded study on brain injuries, adding a new layer of scrutiny to the professional sports league’s sometimes contentious relationship with Congress.

Abortion Opponents Deny Partisan Tilt of New Subcommittee

Marsha Blackburn is quick to point out that a new investigative panel she chairs is not called the “Planned Parenthood Committee.”

FDA May Lack Money to Carry Out Hiring Envisioned in ‘Cures’ Bill

The Food and Drug Administration’s ability to hire senior staff would be enhanced under a bipartisan House package to speed new medical cures, but the cash-strapped agency still may not have enough resources to pay higher salaries and support the hiring permitted under the measure.

FDA May Lack Money to Carry Out Hiring Envisioned in 'Cures' Bill

The Food and Drug Administration’s ability to hire senior staff would be enhanced under a bipartisan House package to speed new medical cures, but the cash-strapped agency still may not have enough resources to pay higher salaries and support the hiring permitted under the measure.

Teaching Hospitals May Benefit From Schumer's Likely Ascension in Leadership

Teaching hospitals have an ally in New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer and are likely to benefit if, as expected, he becomes the Senate’s next Democratic leader.

GOP Leaders Pull Abortion Ban on Female Members' Revolt

Faced with an intraparty rift over a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders Wednesday night replaced the bill with a measure that would prohibit federally funded abortions and resembles a plan that was approved by the chamber during the 113th Congress.

Reporting Language in Abortion Bill Arouses Concern

Reproductive rights advocates on Wednesday branded a 20-week abortion ban, due for a House vote on Thursday, as an attack on women's health and a candidate for a Senate filibuster amid signs that some GOP support for the measure may be weakening.

Budget Reconciliation Through the Years

Congress has employed budget reconciliation to enact dozens of laws, addressing issues that range from tax cuts to student loans.

Budget Reconciliation May Be Obamacare's Enemy

Democrats used the complicated process of budget reconciliation to pass part of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation in 2010, and avoid a Senate filibuster; now Republicans are weighing whether to use the same process to chip away at the law.

Michigan Democrat May Join With GOP on Health Law Tweaks

Senate Republicans lacking a filibuster-proof majority next year will need to attract crossover votes from a shrinking pool of centrist Democrats if they are to have any hope of making legislative changes to the health care law. 

Congress Has Thin Legislative Record on Combating Disease Outbreaks

Although Congress has publicly fretted over the threat of infectious disease pandemics, there have been few legislative attempts in the last two decades to address such health emergencies, leaving lawmakers with a limited set of policy options as they try to contain the Ebola outbreak.

Zohydro ER Approval Still Under Debate in Congress

The powerful painkiller Zohydro ER has been a lightning rod in the prescription drug abuse debate. Amid a backdrop of steadily increasing opioid abuse rates, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Zohydro for the market last fall, against its advisory board’s recommendation. The drug is the first of its kind.

New DEA Rules Aim to Balance Risks, Benefits of Prescription Painkillers

Prescription painkillers have been objects of increasing concern in recent years, blamed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a national epidemic of drug abuse. But starting next month, it will be more difficult to access certain pain medicines — thanks to a rule being implemented by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

MTV Gives Props to Interior Department's Instagram (Video)

MTV admirably took a break from showcasing teen moms and teen wolves to advertise the Instagram account belonging to the U.S. Interior Department. The only problem? The department was completely in the dark about the commercial, until HOH tipped them off.  

“You saw our Instagram on a commercial? We are not running TV ads anywhere in the US to our knowledge. Do you have more info?” the Interior Department tweeted.  

Members Launch Personal Apps

Have an urge to write your Member of Congress during your commute? Or maybe even make a campaign donation?

There’s an app for that — but only for a handful of lawmakers.

Rubio Silence: Waiting for His Maiden Speech

Among the 13 Senators sworn in last January, Sen. Marco Rubio is the only one who has yet to speak on the floor.

The Florida Republican says he’s just waiting for the right moment for his maiden speech, which his staff suggested could be quite soon. 

Breaking From the Political Science Major Mold
Hill Staffers’ Path Not Always a Straight Line

For the past year, I’ve written Roll Call’s Hill Climbers column, which profiles Congressional staff members on the Hill. And after 55 articles, it’s safe to say that I’ve gotten to know the “cookie-cutter Hill staffer” very well.

They typically earned political science degrees and belonged to their college Republican or Democratic clubs. Most of them volunteered on campaigns. Almost all of them interned for Members of Congress from their home states.