Human Services

Congress is Trump’s best hope for drug pricing action
But divisions remain between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate

The administration will need congressional help to take action this year on drug prices. (File photo)

An upcoming Senate bill is the Trump administration’s best hope for a significant achievement before next year’s election to lower prescription drug prices, but a lot still needs to go right for anything to become law.

Despite the overwhelming desire for action, there are still policy gulfs between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and another gap between the Senate and the House. And the politics of the moment might derail potential policy agreements. Some Democrats might balk at settling for a drug pricing compromise that President Donald Trump endorsed.

Court allows administration family planning rule
The move is a blow to Planned Parenthood and abortion rights groups

Court ruling will likely please anti-abortion groups seeking to restrict funding for abortion providers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said Thursday it would allow a Trump administration rule to take effect that would prohibit certain providers like Planned Parenthood from being eligible for federal family planning funds.

The move is a blow to abortion rights groups that have been fighting the policy in court. The Health and Human Services rule would prevent any provider of abortions or abortion referrals from qualifying for federal family planning funding under the program known as Title X.

Trump unveils sweeping goals on kidney disease
Executive order aims to improve quality and cut costs by refocusing care on prevention

President Donald Trump arrives for a rally in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20, 2019. Trump on Wednesday outlined an agenda to improve preventive treatment of kidney disease. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump outlined an agenda to improve preventive treatment of kidney disease Wednesday, zeroing in on a condition that afflicts more than 30 million Americans and costs more than $100 billion in annual Medicare spending.

The executive order Trump signed aims to improve quality and cut costs by refocusing care on prevention. The initiative’s overarching goals are to reduce the number of new patients with end-stage renal disease by 25 percent by 2030, and to have 80 percent of ESRD patients either receiving in-home dialysis or transplants by 2025.

States grapple with Medicaid work requirements
The path to implementing work requirements has been tricky and controversial

Protesters gathered when Congress tried to make funding adjustments to the Medicaid program. Now states are starting to make changes by adding work requirements. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

State action to implement work requirements into their Medicaid programs is heating up, as some states roll out their programs while others are fighting in court to keep them alive.

New Hampshire announced Monday it would delay suspending any Medicaid coverage until September because of consumers’ noncompliance with the work requirements. Meanwhile, Indiana on July 1 began the first steps of implementing its work requirements. Court action in three other states is expected in the coming months.

House brief on Trump’s ‘disdain’ kicks off what could be messy two weeks
Cases in D.C., New Orleans showcase tussle between branches of government

House Oversight and Reform chairman Elijah Cummings is leading a House effort to subpoena President Donald Trump’s financial records. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House told a federal appeals court Monday that President Donald Trump has “disdain” for congressional oversight ahead of action next week on the House’s efforts to subpoena his financial records from accounting firm Mazars USA. The brief sets the stage for what could be a messy couple of weeks legally on fights between Congress and the administration. 

“Mr. Trump’s disdain for the constitutionally based role of Congress in carrying out oversight of the Executive Branch, and for the specific investigations of the Oversight Committee at issue here, is not a basis for this Court to reverse the district court’s holding that the subpoena is valid and enforceable,” the brief stated.

House approves Senate version of border bill after Pelosi yields
Speaker says she ‘reluctantly’ allowed vote to get assistance to border quickly

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, walks after speaking with reporters Thursday outside Speaker  Nancy Pelosi’s office about the agreement to take up the Senate border bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House cleared and sent to President Donald Trump the Senate version of supplemental aid legislation for strained border agencies dealing with a massive influx of migrants, ending a back-and-forth that threatened to upend lawmakers’ July Fourth recess plans.

The final vote was 305-102, with many Democrats joining Republicans in voting for the bill. The Democratic split was 129 in favor, 95 against; the Republican split was 176 for and 7 against.

Senate won’t take up House Democrats’ changes to border bill
The amendment calls for about 10 significant changes to the Senate bill, including adjustments in funding from the Senate bill

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., talk as they leave the House Democrats’ caucus meeting in the Capitol on June 4, 2019. Lowey said changes made to a border aid package adopted Wednesday by House were aimed at getting the money to the border agencies as quickly as possible but making sure that the safety and proper care of migrants and children was not forgotten. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Billions of dollars for resource-constrained border agencies that are rapidly running out of cash due to an unprecedented surge of migrants is in jeopardy as the congressional clock counts down to the July Fourth recess.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned Thursday his chamber wouldn’t consider revisions demanded by House Democrats to the Senate-passed border supplemental, including cuts to Pentagon and Immigration and Customs Enforcement accounts.

Oversight Democrats investigate whether CDC and HIV prevention drugmaker made a deal
Trump touted Gilead’s donation of Truvada for PrEP as a step towards ending the HIV epidemic for good

House Oversight Committee members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left,  and Ayanna S. Pressley  are among those questioning Gilead’s donation of its HIV prevention drug Truvada for PrEP. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For uninsured people at risk of HIV, the announcement last month that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had secured an annual donation of more than 2 million bottles of the HIV prevention drug Truvada for PrEP likely came as welcome news.

For many, paying out-of-pocket for the $2,000 per month drug is unaffordable.

Senate approves border bill; Pelosi and Trump talk compromise

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democratic leaders are weighing their next move on a border supplemental aid package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:35 p.m. | With the Senate’s passage of its version of a border supplemental funding bill Wednesday, and its rejection of the House measure, negotiations between the White House, Senate and House leaders will now attempt to nail down a compromise before Congress leaves for the July Fourth recess.

Several disagreements lie at the heart of Senate and House differences on the two bills. The Senate bill rejected some of the tight restrictions the House included in its measure on the care of migrant children in government custody. The Senate also added in more money than the House for border enforcement agencies and for more immigration judges.

After Democratic divisions, House passes border spending bill
White House has already said president will not sign off on House measure

Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called for a “strong bipartisan vote” on the border supplemental funding package. In the end, only three Republicans voted for the measure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

After a day heavy with negotiations between House Democratic leaders and more progressive members, the House passed, 230-195, a $4.5 billion supplemental funding measure to address the influx of migrants and children coming to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Four Democrats voted “no” on the bill, all of them freshman women from the party’s progressive wing: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Three Republicans voted for the measure: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas and Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey.