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NIH Probe by House Panel Expands
Energy and Commerce asks for documents related to 2015 scandal

Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, is under fire from House Republicans, upset over a scandal at the agency, as well as Collins’ views on research issues. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Institutes of Health is in hot water again with the House Energy and Commerce Committee over a scandal that occurred nearly two years ago at one of the agency’s main research institutions.

On Thursday, the panel broadened its probe into safety and compliance issues at the NIH Clinical Center, a research hospital located on the agency’s campus in Bethesda, Maryland. In a letter sent to Director Francis Collins and obtained by Roll Call, the committee requested a larger swath of documents not yet provided by the agency.

Opinion: Mick Mulvaney’s Compassion — Not for the Needy
Republican budget funds big programs, pulls back safety net

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney not only dumped the concept of compassionate conservatism, he literally redefined what compassion should mean in today’s Washington, Patricia Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When George W. Bush ran for president in the late 1990s, he did it on a platform of “compassionate conservatism,” a smooth-edged rebranding of the conservatism that had become synonymous with callousness in the age of Newt Gingrich. Bush’s compassionate conservatism assured voters that he wasn’t going to waste their money the way he said Democrats would, but that he also wasn’t going to hurt people in the process, especially the least among us.

Bush won, but the concept of conservatism took a beating under his administration, as federal budgets ballooned and his vision of the role of government expanded at home and abroad.

Trump Budget Request Rolls Out to a Quarreling Congress
Selling deep cuts aimed at poor and middle class could be rough going

Eric Ueland, Republican Staff Director for the Senate Budget Committee, hands out copies of President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 Budget in the Dirksen Building on May 23, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The ambitious fiscal blueprint now heads to a bitterly divided Congress, which has the authority to adopt or reject the White House spending plans. Trump’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, will visit the Capitol this week to try to sell the $4.1 trillion outline to top budget writers in the House and Senate.

Those hearings will officially kick off the fiscal 2018 budget and appropriations cycle in Congress, a process that has been on hold for months as lawmakers waited for Trump’s full budget proposal and as they finished up last year’s spending work.

Policymakers Face Pressure to Act on Drug Pricing
Some proposals appear likely to gain traction

Indiana Sen. Todd Young leaves a Senate Republican policy lunch in the Capitol in February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A proposal that would open the door for the import of low-cost prescription drugs from Canada was defeated at a Senate markup Thursday, but the proposal is unlikely to be gone for good. Lawmakers from both parties seem to want to demonstrate concern about drug prices to voters.

The administration also appears interested in addressing the issue, with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price holding listening sessions with patient groups and think tanks in recent weeks.

Freedom Caucus May Push for More Than Tax Overhaul in Next Budget
Reconciliation instructions for overhauling welfare system among issues caucus plans to discuss, Meadows says

Rep. Mark Meadows signs pictures taken of him with constituents to send the constituents as a thank you for their time. (Lindsey McPherson/CQ Roll Call)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are considering a push for broader reconciliation authority in the upcoming fiscal 2018 budget resolution that would allow Republicans to pursue policies beyond a tax code overhaul.

“We believe that writing the instructions more broadly will give us greater flexibility not only to get tax reform but also to address other areas simultaneously,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said in an interview here Friday.

Post-Comey Senate Forecast Is Turbulent
Procedural roadblocks could set back legislative ambitions

Aides to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer declined to comment on what steps Democrats planned to take should none of their demands on the Russia probe be met. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BY JOE WILLIAMS AND NIELS LESNIEWSKI

A partisan standoff in the fallout of the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey could significantly stall the Senate legislative calendar, as Democrats appear ready to utilize procedural rules to coerce Republicans into acting on a number of demands.

Crucial Health Bills Have a Fraught Path Amid Partisan Blowups
Bickering could delay progress on changes to 2010 health care law

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said the panel will next focus on Medicare policies related to patients with chronic illnesses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A highly anticipated markup of a must-pass Food and Drug Administration bill was postponed Wednesday because of partisan sparring over the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey. The delay comes after the Senate Finance Committee last week indefinitely postponed a hearing on the Children’s Health Insurance Program because of the toxic politics of the Republican health care bill. The cancellations raise questions about whether a deluge of drama consuming the Capitol could push lower-profile but important health care legislation off the rails.

Both bills — which congressional leaders hoped to pass without major controversies — need to be addressed well before their Sept. 30 deadlines so the FDA employees and children’s health providers who rely on funding affected by the bills can keep working.

The Internet Nominates Comey Replacements
For new director of FBI, separating real suggestions from jokes isn’t easy

With the lack of a White House list of possible replacements for fired FBI Director James Comey, we turned to the Internet for answers.  (Screenshot and twitter.com/urbroyo)

Homer Simpson in dark sunglasses is clearly not next in line to lead the FBI. Neither is Vladimir Putin wearing a Groucho Marx mustache. But what about Chris Christie

The strange details around President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey keep coming. Press secretary Sean Spicer hid in the White House bushes until he was promised he wouldn’t be filmed answering questions about Comey’s firing. Comey learned he was fired from a TV playing cable news in the back of the room where he was giving a speech in California, and he initially thought it was a prank.

Senate Work Slows Amid Comey Firing Fallout
Democrats have several tools to complicate life in the chamber

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., arrives for a news conference in the Capitol on the firing of FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017. Schumer called for a special prosecutor to look into the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Work in the Senate came to a slowdown on Wednesday in the fallout of the surprise firing of FBI Director James B. Comey.

Senate Democrats invoked a two-hour rule that restricts the time and duration of committee meetings. The objection to the commonly waived rule could put a stop to some of the chamber’s activities for the day.

Trump Wants $800 Billion, 10-Year Cut in Entitlement Programs
Programs include Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speaks to the media about President Donald Trump's budget during a May 2 briefing at the White House. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

White House officials are crafting a fiscal 2018 budget proposal for President Donald Trump that aims to wipe out the deficit through a combination of robust economic growth, steep cuts in certain means-tested entitlement programs and other savings.

Trump would aim to balance the federal budget within 10 years. His plan relies on Congress passing a comprehensive tax overhaul and other policies, such as deregulation. The administration believes these approaches will jump-start the economy, causing economic growth to ramp up to 3 percent in the coming decade, people with knowledge of the plan said.