Health Care

Trump continues to bash McCain as ‘horrible’ for role in Russia dossier
President blames media for asking questions about his unprompted criticism seven months after McCain’s death

Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain, and their son Jimmy follow an honor guard carrying the senator’s casket out of the Washington National Cathedral after his funeral in September 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump continued his feud with the late Sen. John McCain, calling the Arizona Republican “horrible” for handing to the FBI the so-called dossier of unflattering information about his pre-White House activities in Russia.

Trump has been lashing out at McCain for nearly a week after he apparently was reminded about the former Senate Armed Services chairman’s role in turning over that document to federal investigators. During a speech Wednesday ostensibly about the economy, the president even criticized the deceased senator and his family for not thanking him for approving parts of McCain’s funeral plans that needed a presidential green light.

Little-known provision prevents Dreamers from working on Capitol Hill
DACA recipients cannot legally serve in congressional offices

Staffers watch as demonstrators rally in the Hart Senate Office Building in January 2018, calling on Congress to pass the Dream Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Arizona Rep. Greg Stanton was elected last November, he considered it a no-brainer that his campaign’s political director, 28-year-old Elizabeth Perez, would join his congressional staff.

Perez had spent months knocking on doors and speaking to voters across south Phoenix and Mesa. She had deep roots in the 9th District, where she’d lived since she was 4 years old.

Trump’s HIV plan is bold. But can he back it up?
If the president were serious about ending HIV, he’d stop attacking Medicare and the ACA

When President Donald Trump announced his goal of ending the HIV epidemic, there was a sense of whiplash, Crowley writes. (POOL/Doug Mills/The New York Times file photo)

OPINION — President Donald Trump surprised many in his State of the Union address when he announced a bold goal of ending the HIV epidemic over the next decade.

It is rare to see HIV at the top of the headlines these days. For the past two years, virtually all of the communities most heavily affected by HIV have been under seemingly unending attack. Whether it is the denigration of people of color, incitement against immigrants, aggressive actions against transgender people, along with other LGBTQ people, and the shaming of women and others seeking to protect access to contraception and reproductive choice, the communities bearing the heaviest burden of HIV often have experienced open hostility from this administration.

Trump budget request triggers clash with Congress
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 102

Copies of President Donald Trump’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020 are prepared for distribution at the Government Publishing Office in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Puerto Rico aid among issues complicating disaster bill talks
The size and scope of a disaster aid package has become a flashpoint among Senate appropriators

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., talks with reporters before a meeting with Republican and Democratic negotiators on government spending on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The size and scope of a disaster aid package has become a flashpoint as Senate appropriators construct a supplemental spending bill they hope to move quickly.

The fight appears to be between Democrats who want additional aid for Puerto Rico and states ravaged by 2017 storms, while Republicans are attempting to keep the bill contained to rebuilding from disasters that struck last year.

Congress pressures immigration officials on sexual abuse allegations involving minors in custody
Senior officials at DHHS have taken offense at the use of the word ‘staff’ to describe predators

Cmdr. Jonathan D. White, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, third from left, took offense at Rep. Ted Deutch’s description of employees who preyed on children in U.S. custody as "HHS staff." (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

UPDATE, 2 p.m.:  In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for HHS said officials have been “briefing Members on both sides of the aisle, in both the House of Representatives and Senate, on the allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate sexual behavior.” The spokesperson did not name the lawmakers the agency met with.“HHS ... has communicated to Congressman Deutch that we will be happy to meet with him, once he corrects the hearing record from last week and provides an apology to the dedicated men and women working tirelessly to protect and improve the lives of unaccompanied alien children in our care,” she said.

Trump administration officials overseeing the sheltering of migrant children have refused to meet with some members of Congress about recent allegations that adult employees preyed on children in their custody.

After HR 1 vote, Democrats ready to move quickly on other top 10 bills
Pelosi has been steadily rolling out bills HR 1 through 10 to keep priorities advancing

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats are following through on their campaign promises with legislation. She’s designated bills HR 1 through HR 10 to reflect those top priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:03 p.m. | House Democrats were in high spirits Friday after they passed the top item on their policy agenda — a package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls dubbed HR 1 — but they’re not going to stop to celebrate for too long.

The new Democratic majority has been quickly, but steadily and deliberately, rolling out legislation to fulfill their 2018 midterm campaign promises and reintroducing bills that languished during the past eight years when Republicans controlled the House. 

Teen who defied his mother to get vaccinated will testify before Congress
Before receiving immunizations, Lindenberger hadn’t received vaccination for MMR, chickenpox and Polio

Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., prepares to recieve a small pox vaccination shot from RN Lucienne Nelson, with the National Institutes of Health, at the Department of Health and Human Services, Friday. (CQ Roll Call)

Ethan Lindenberger decided at the age of 18 to vaccinate himself despite his parent’s disapproval. On Tuesday, he will testify in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions at a hearing concerning the value of vaccines.

The Ohio resident garnered a great deal of media attention in recent months after he posted on Reddit asking how he could get the vaccines that usually are given during childhood.  Lindenberger’s parents refused to vaccinate him, because his mother believes in a now-debunked conspiracy theory that suggests the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism in children.

How the National Archives helped ‘Apollo 11’ get a fresh look
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 59

"Apollo 11" director Todd Douglas Miller, right, discusses his documentary about the iconic moon landing with Political Theater Podcast host Jason Dick. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Official distances HHS from sexual abuse of detained migrant children allegations
HHS official quibbled with description of contractors under HHS as "HHS staff"

A boy and father from Honduras are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico Border on June 12, 2018 near Mission, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A Department of Health and Human Services official tried to distance his department from thousands of alleged sexual abuse cases of unaccompanied migrant children during intense questioning at a Tuesday hearing.

Rep. Ted Deutch grilled Commander Jonathan White about the abuse during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, but White emphasized the alleged perpetrators were contractors for the U.S. government, not staffers. White was the deputy at HHS under Secretary Alex Azar, who oversaw emergency efforts to return children separated from their parents at the border.

‘Medicare-for-all’ is no longer purely theoretical. Democrats are coming to terms with that
Support wobbles as Pramila Jayapal introduces new bill in the House

While there are fewer total co-sponsors than last year, the number of original co-sponsors for her universal health care bill is higher, Pramila Jayapal noted. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The single-payer “Medicare-for-all” bill that House Democrats are releasing Wednesday seems like it should stand a good chance of attracting more support than last year. After all, the House Democratic caucus ballooned this year and health care concerns were a key factor in the party’s electoral success.

But Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who will introduce the bill, said 107 House Democrats are initially supporting the measure. That number is fewer than the 124 Democrats who had formally backed an earlier version of the measure by the end of the last Congress.

Miners, fearing retaliation, may skip black lung screenings
The consensus among health advocates is that miners are afraid to take advantage of the program

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s mobile unit offers health screenings to test for black lung. (Courtesy NIOSH)

Federal officials are examining potential barriers, such as a fear of retaliation from employers, that may explain why only about one-third of coal miners participate in a program to screen for black lung disease even as the number of workers suffering from the deadly condition is rising.

The lack of participation concerns lawmakers and the federal agency that administers the program, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The institute, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plans to issue a congressionally-mandated report on the issue by the end of March.

Senator compares drugmakers to Gollum from Lord of the Rings
As several industry executives testify, lawmakers turn up the heat

Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, right, and ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., talk before a Senate Finance Committee hearing in Dirksen Building on Tuesday titled “Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part II.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Seven drug industry executives appearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday blamed a large part of the drug price problem on the way health insurance is designed, even though lawmakers warned the industry to focus on its own actions rather than those of other companies.

“We’ve all seen the finger pointing,” said Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa. “Like most Americans, I’m sick and tired of the blame game.”

Eli Lilly chief executive escapes drug prices hearing
Diabetes advocates want to hear from CEO of U.S.-based company behind insulin price hikes

A woman hands an insulin pen to Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., during a 2017 town hall meeting on his health care legislation. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images file photo)

The chief executives of seven pharmaceutical companies will have to answer for the steep cost of medicines before a panel of senators on Tuesday.

The tableau of corporate heads raising their right hands to deliver sworn testimony about a growing public health crisis could recall scrutiny of the tobacco industry in Congress in the 1990s.

Jon Stewart, advocates for 9/11 first responders are tired of visiting Congress
Crew renews call to authorize a permanent victims compensation fund

From left, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, comedian Jon Stewart, and Reps. Peter T. King and Jerrold Nadler participate in a news conference with 9/11 first responders, survivors and their families on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Jon Stewart and the New York City first responders pushing to make permanent the funding for 9/11 victim compensation are tired of making the trek to Capitol Hill.