Ron Kind

House Dems move forward with drug pricing bill
Committee approved a new plan that would limit drug prices — a top priority for the party

Rep. Pramila Jayapal speaks with reporters in June. The Washington Democrat proposed an amendment during a markup of a bill designed to limit drug prices Thursday.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House committee on Thursday approved a Democratic bill designed to limit drug prices, a top priority for the party, as another panel’s debate on the measure was poised to last for hours.

House leaders produced the 141-page bill after months of deliberations among various party factions, as progressives urged their colleagues to be bold despite GOP criticisms that the measure could hamper research into future cures. The bill, numbered HR 3, includes requirements for the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate Medicare prices for the most expensive drugs, with commercial health plans also having the option of adopting those prices.

Buffeted by trade winds, soybean farmers seek tax credit renewal
Industry ‘would be wiped out‘ if tariffs on Argentine competitors were lifted, Rep. Kind says

Freshman Iowa Rep. Abby Finkenauer, center, is seeking to restore the biodiesel credit (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One bright spot in an otherwise dreary outlook for U.S. soybean farmers, caught in the ongoing China trade war crossfire, has been the 1.5 gallons of biodiesel — a cleaner-burning alternative to traditional diesel motor fuel — that each bushel of soybeans yields.

Protected on one side by the EPA’s renewable fuels mandate and by steep import tariffs on the other, some biodiesel producers were able to post profits last year despite the lapse of the industry’s coveted $1 per gallon tax credit for the sale or use of the fuel.

Will Trump, Democrats’ agreement to do a $2 trillion infrastructure plan hold?
President has walked back promises before and lawmakers on both sides are skeptical about a deal to pay for it

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., says President Donald Trump could give both parties political cover if he advocates revenue-raising measures as part of an infrastructure deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An agreement between congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure package could be short-lived if the president walks back his position or if the parties fail to agree on how to pay for it. 

Both are familiar scenarios and ones lawmakers in both parties acknowledge could nullify the agreement top congressional Democrats say they reached with Trump during a White House meeting meeting Tuesday.

Trump’s border threats complicate trade pact talks
Replacement for NAFTA already faces assortment of challenges on Capitol Hill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is suggesting the USMCA may need enforcement changes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration’s sales pitch for a new trade deal with America’s northern and southern neighbors has a long way to go, and the president’s threat to close the U.S. border with Mexico does not appear to be helping matters.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday amid renewed concern he may seek to shut down the flow of traffic between the two countries, a move that would by definition make free trade impossible.

Disaster aid fix would open spigot for cherry growers
The provision on its face strains the definition of ‘emergency,’ but Washington cherry growers are smarting from China’s retaliatory tariffs

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., says the trade war has led to some $96 million in losses to sweet cherry producers for the 2018 growing season. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Talk about a sweetener.

An arcane provision moving through Congress as part of must-pass disaster aid legislation would let farmers earning more than $900,000 on average for the past three years qualify for President Donald Trump’s $12 billion program compensating producers for trade-related losses.

The House passed 2 gun control bills, but Democrats aren’t in a rush to do more
Judiciary chairman expects to take up more gun legislation but not until after June

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D- N.Y., says his panel will mark up more gun safety legislation but likely not until after June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats took a victory lap this week as their new majority passed two priority gun control measures that the previous Republican majority had blocked for years, but they appear to be in no rush to pass more. 

“Yes, not immediately, but this session,” Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler told Roll Call on Thursday when asked if his panel would be marking up more legislation designed to prevent gun violence. Not immediately, the New York Democrat said, is likely “after June sometime.”

Republicans name 55 House Democrats as 2020 targets
A majority of the targets represent districts that backed Trump

Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., chairs the NRCC. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans will be targeting 55 House Democrats in 2020, the majority of whom are new members, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced Thursday.

The lengthy target list, shared first with Roll Call, includes all 31 Democrats in districts President Donald Trump carried in 2016. The list also includes 20 districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that were previously represented by Republicans.

Here are the 15 Democrats who didn’t vote for Pelosi as speaker
Some Democratic House ran on pledge for new blood in Democratic leadership

A man wearing a "Madame Speaker" pin leaves the Speaker of the House office suite before the start of the 116th Congress on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi of California was elected speaker of the House on Thursday, returning the gavel to her hands eight years after she lost it when Republicans took control of the chamber in 2011. 

There were 15 Democrats who voted against her in the roll call vote.

Term Limits Talks Roil House Democrats
Talk of compromise on matter comes amid consternation

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been involved in talks with a few Democratic opponents to her speaker bid about term limits on party leaders and committee chairs, an idea opposed by many in her caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are at odds over whether to adopt intraparty term limits for their elected leaders and committee chairs, even as it offers them a way out of their current impasse on the race for the speakership.

The House Democratic Caucus has long wrestled with the idea of term limits. House Republicans adopted a rule in 1995 to limit committee chairs to serving three terms. Democrats kept that rule in place when they took the majority in 2007 but then decided two years later to get rid of it.

On ‘Medicare-for-All,’ Democrats Tread Lightly
It polls well. But Dems say the proposal isn’t ready for floor action

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., founded the Medicare-for-All Caucus earlier this year. She pushed back on the idea that single-payer health care is unpopular in suburban parts of the country. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Progressives in the House are calling for a vote on a single-payer “Medicare-for-all” bill in the next Congress, but the expected chairmen who will set the agenda for next year say they have other health priorities.

Still, the progressives’ push could earn more attention over the next two years as Democratic candidates begin vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. A handful of potential presidential candidates expected to declare interest have already co-sponsored “Medicare-for-all” legislation, an issue that was also a flashpoint in Democratic primaries over the past year.