Anna G Eshoo

Democrats bow to critics, expand scope of drug price bill
The changes by House Democratic leaders were made to appease progressives who pushed for more aggressive action

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., points to sign that reads “lower drug costs now” as she departs from a press conference at the Capitol in Washington on September 19, 2019. Democratic leaders unveiled changes to Pelosi’s drug pricing bill ahead of markups Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders unveiled changes to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill ahead of markups Thursday, seeking to appease progressives who pushed for more aggressive action.

The chamber is expected to vote on the bill this month.

Political tensions escalate as drug pricing bills move forward
Rift began when Pelosi called for Medicare to negotiate prices for a set of high-cost drugs

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa unveiled the text of his committee's drug pricing bill on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The discord between the parties over plans to bring down drug costs deepened this week as Democrats insisted on allowing Medicare to negotiate prices and launched an impeachment inquiry that threatens to consume Congress.

Still, members of key committees said Wednesday they wanted to continue bipartisan work to lower costs, a major concern of voters, and lawmakers in both chambers took steps toward advancing their proposals. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held the first hearing on legislation unveiled last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Democrats leaving a caucus meeting on drug legislation late Wednesday said markups are expected soon after a two-week recess in October. Meanwhile, Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa and ranking Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon unveiled the text of their bill on Wednesday.

‘Dead billionaires’ and a tech Peace Corps? Lawmakers float ideas to fix Congress
First hearing of new modernization committee turns into a brainstorming session

Reps. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., left, and John Sarbanes, D-Md., are seen in between testimony during a Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress business meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer kicked off the first hearing of the new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress with a plea for a return of something from the past: earmarks.

The Maryland Democrat was the first among 30 lawmakers who offered ideas Tuesday to the temporary and bipartisan panel, which has been charged with making recommendations about how to update Congress for the modern era.

Photos of the Week: Federal workers protest, visit food drives and miss their second paycheck
The week of Jan. 21 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Chef José Andrés, right, and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., take a tour on Tuesday of Andrés' World Central Kitchen, which is serving free meals and goods to federal workers who have been affected by the partial government shutdown in downtown Washington. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

From celebrity chefs preparing meals alongside the speaker, to protests, to canceled member retreats and a second missed paycheck for federal workers deemed essential — signs of the partial government shutdown are almost everywhere on Capitol Hill.

Here's the entire week in photos:

Drug Prices Could Become a Divisive Issue for Democrats
Internal tensions over Big Pharma could be on full display next Congress

Divisions among Democrats over the pharmaceutical industry could hurt their party’s efforts to address high drug costs if they win a majority next year. (Courtesy iStock)

Democrats are making the cost of prescription drugs a pillar of the party’s health care agenda in the midterms, but if they win a majority for the 116th Congress, the party will have to grapple with internal divisions over the issue that might be magnified next year.

This campaign season has been notable for candidates pushing the party to reject corporate influence. For emboldened progressive Democrats, the party’s current plans might not be enough. Their views compete with those of new candidates from politically moderate areas with a big pharmaceutical industry presence that might be more inclined to join with longtime incumbents who sympathize more with the industry’s perspective.

Supreme Court Starts New Term in Shadow of Kavanaugh Uproar
High court begins term with 8 justices, a not-unfamiliar place for it

Senate Democrats and protesters gather outside of the Supreme Court to voice their opposition to the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Friday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court started its new term Monday in the shadow of the dramatic confirmation showdown over nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a roiling political fight that leaves the high court shorthanded and equally divided on ideological grounds.

The slate of cases the justices set for oral arguments in October can’t compare to the interest in Kavanaugh, who is currently a federal appeals court judge. His nomination to the high court awaits action on the Senate floor this week, as soon as the FBI completes a supplemental background investigation of allegations he sexually assaulted women decades ago.

3 Takeaways From Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony
Difficult to discern where GOP’s hired questioner is going — so far

Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party 36 years ago, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. (POOL PHOTO / SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Christine Blasey Ford delivered sometimes-powerful testimony Thursday as she described what she claims was a 1982 sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Republican senators, however, have said virtually nothing to defend him.

“The stairwell. The living room. The bedroom. The bed on the right side of the room. … The bathroom in close proximity,” she said when asked what she can’t forget about that night. “The laughter — the uproarious laughter. And the multiple attempts to escape and the final ability to do so.”

Under Questioning, Ford Recalls Kavanaugh ‘Having Fun at My Expense’
Accuser says she struggled academically, still has claustrophobia

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is sworn in by chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee she experienced anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-like symptoms after what she says was a sexual assault carried out by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“I struggled academically,” she told ranking member Dianne Feinstein, adding she also had problems having relationships with males when she arrived at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to begin her undergraduate studies.

Rep. Eshoo Reveals Her First Conversation with Kavanaugh Accuser
‘At the end of the meeting, I told her I believed her,’ California Democrat says of Christine Blasey Ford

Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California said her constituent Christine Blasey Ford has come forward “for all the right reasons.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Blasey Ford, the California clinical psychology professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, did not first share her story with Congress in the widely reported anonymous letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

A week before she wrote that letter on July 30, Ford sat down at a conference table in Palo Alto, California, to share her story with Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, her congresswoman.

Kavanaugh’s Fate Lies in Women’s Hands — As It Should Be
Female voters will also be judging how Republicans treat him and his accuser

Responses by some male Republican lawmakers to the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh show that many still don’t understand what it takes for a woman to come forward and tell her story, Murphy writes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — This was the point. This was always the point of the “Year of the Woman,” in 1992 and every election year since then. To have women at the table, to have women as a part of the process in the government we live by every day. Women still aren’t serving in Congress in the numbers they should be, but it is at moments like this one — with a nominee, an accusation, and a Supreme Court seat in the balance — where electing women to office matters.

When Anita Hill told an all-male panel of senators in 1991 that Clarence Thomas had repeatedly sexually harassed her when she had worked with him years before, the senators on the all-male Judiciary Committee seemed to put Hill on trial instead of Thomas. Why didn’t she quit her job and get another one, they asked. Why did she speak to him again? Why didn’t she come forward and say something about Thomas sooner if he was such a flawed nominee?