outside-groups

Opinion: Groundhog Day in America
Sensationalism, not substance, drives the daily conversation

Washington politics feels a lot like waking up to “Groundhog Day” every morning, Winston writes. (Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

When it comes to Washington politics, it feels a lot like we’re all living in the comedy “Groundhog Day,” where every day starts the same way, over and over and over again. In the movie, Bill Murray wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. as the clock radio blares Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe.”

America wakes up every day to the diatribe du jour from morning show anchors Mika and Joe, Chris and Alisyn, and from the “Friends” in the opposition. Soon after, the president sends out his first tweet of the day. Cable explodes, shrieking, “This time, it’s really Armageddon.”

Anti-Abortion Groups Look for Wins in 2018
Senate vote on a 20-week abortion ban is a top priority

Attendees gather near the Washington Monument on Jan. 27, 2017, during the speaking portion of the annual March for Life. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Anti-abortion groups, pursuing a list of priorities, hope to further capitalize on the Republican control of both chambers and the presidency in 2018.

Groups that oppose abortion scored a series of wins last year, including the appointment of several conservatives to top Department of Health and Human Services positions, the House passage of a late-term abortion ban bill and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

House Panel to Consider Stronger Foreign Lobbying Rules
Some lobbyists caution against unintended consequences of bipartisan bill

Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson says his bill ensures transparency and protects the democratic process.(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Judiciary Committee plans to take up a bill on Wednesday that would overhaul the 1938 law governing foreign lobbying disclosures, but the measure’s fate in the Senate remains unclear.

The bipartisan bill could have broad implications not only for lobbyists and other U.S. representatives of foreign governments and political parties but also for those working on behalf of foreign corporations and nonprofit organizations.

States Alarmed by Delay in HHS Family Planning Money
Title X grant recipients play the waiting game, fearing revival of abortion gag rule

The Department of Health and Human Services has yet to announce a new round of Title X funding for family planning, leaving advocacy groups fearing for the future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State officials are dismayed that the Trump administration has stalled the process for applying for new family planning money the states are counting on. Abortion advocacy groups worry that the delay may mean the administration is planning to target abortion providers or rewrite family planning policies. 

The funding announcement was expected by November, with states’ applications for 2018-19 due Jan. 3. But the announcement still isn’t out. The funding is provided by the Title X program, through the only federal grants focused on family planning.

Experts, Industry Push Back on Health Insurance Proposal
Trump administation wants to loosen ERISA regulations

Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said a proposed rule change would help Americans who don’t have access employee-sponsored health insurance. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Industry groups and policy experts are questioning a Trump administration proposal on health insurance even as it garners accolades from congressional Republicans. 

The proposed rule, announced on Thursday, would loosen regulations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, that govern association health plans. Such plans allow businesses to band together in purchasing health insurance. Supporters say the rule is intended to help consumers hit the hardest by rising premiums under the 2010 health care law.

CBO: Cost of CHIP Renewal Smaller Than Projected
News should ease Congress’ task to pass legislation

The Congressional Budget Office now estimates the Senate CHIP bill would cost $0.8 billion over 10 years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers will have to come up with only less than $1 billion to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to a new Congressional Budget Office analysis released Friday. That estimate, far lower than previous projections, should ease lawmakers’ task of passing legislation this month.

In a four-page letter to Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, CBO Director Keith Hall said the Senate CHIP bill would cost $800 million over 10 years. Prior to this, the CHIP bill needed to be offset by about $8 billion over 10 years. The total cost of CHIP over 10 years would be $48.4 billion, but decreases in Medicaid and health care marketplace spending would offset much of that amount.

Love ‘Outraged’ Pro-Moore Group Using Her to Raise Funds
The Solution Fund pushing Utah congresswoman as an alternative to Mitt Romney

Reps. Mia Love, R-Utah, left, rejected calls from a conservative PAC to challenge Mitt Romney for Utah's open Senate seat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Mia Love has  rejected a push to run for Utah’s Senate seat by a PAC that supported Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

The Solution Fund, which backed Moore during his Senate race, spent $11,000 to support Love in a fundraising email that slammed Mitt Romney, who is considered the likely Republican favorite to run for the seat after Sen. Orrin Hatch announced his retirement, the Daily Beast reported.

EMILY’s List Endorses Minnesota’s Tina Smith
Democratic PAC will connect her with national donor network

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, seen here with family members at her mock swearing-in ceremony Wednesday, has earned the endorsement of EMILY’s List. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A day after being sworn into the Senate, Minnesota’s Tina Smith picked up the endorsement of EMILY’s List on Thursday for the November special election.

The political action committee, which backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, will work with Smith’s campaign in an advisory role and introduce her to its national donor network.

Poll: Dianne Feinstein Vulnerable to Insurgent Democrats in 2018
Less than half of California voters back longtime senator

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., could face a tough challenge from the left in her bid for a sixth term in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein could face a stiff series of obstacles as she vies for re-election in California in 2018.

Six years after receiving the most popular votes in any senatorial election in U.S. history, the five-term Democrat has seen sliding favorability ratings as liberals in the Golden State hammer her for not being tough enough standing up to President Donald Trump.

No Sign of Punishment for ‘No’ Votes on Tax Overhaul — Yet
Ryan had previously canceled fundraiser for vulnerable opponent of tax bill

Speaker Paul D. Ryan canceled a fundraiser for New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, above, after he voted against the tax bill last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Among the 12 Republicans who voted against the tax bill on Tuesday are some of the party’s most vulnerable incumbents in 2018.

Democrats wasted no time attacking many of them after the vote. But there’s been a fear Republicans who voted “no” could take a hit from their own party, too.