Kurt Schrader

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.

House Democrats divided on how much evidence they need to impeach Trump
After unifying around an inquiry, the caucus remains split on actual impeachment

From left, Reps. Abigail Spanberger, Mikie Sherrill and Elissa Slotkin are among the Democrats who penned an op-ed saying the president might have committed impeachable offenses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats finally agreed last week that they are conducting an impeachment inquiry, but as that probe quickly unfolds there are new divisions in the caucus about how much evidence they need to proceed with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

Several Democrats believe the readout of a July 25 phone call of Trump asking Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a potential 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son; Trump’s public statements admitting to the request; and a whistleblower complaint alleging White House lawyers and officials tried to “lock down” the call transcript is all the evidence they need to impeach.

Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry, but leaves some questions
Move comes as Senate passes resolution calling for whistleblower report to be turned over

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is directly six House committees to proceed with their investigation “under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House will move forward with a formal impeachment inquiry, but Democrats said it was not clear what form that inquiry will take or how quickly it will lead to a decision on whether to vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

“I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry,” the California Democrat said in televised remarks Tuesday after a meeting of House Democrats.  

Democrats say they want to prioritize legislation over impeachment. Here’s their chance
Thursday release of prescription drug pricing bill provides opportunity for messaging shift

House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Katherine M. Clark and Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries say House Democrats are most successful in communicating their policy messages directly to constituents in their districts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders’ plan to release a top-priority prescription drug pricing bill on Thursday presents the caucus with an opportunity to refocus its messaging on legislating over investigating — one that many Democrats say is desperately needed.

Moderate Democrats in particular are concerned that the caucus’s policy work isn’t breaking through the impeachment cloud that has overshadowed the 116th Congress.

Ugly Gerry wants you to know the ‘ugly’ truth about gerrymandering
Two guys in Chicago are drawing their weapons in D.C. politics

Gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court as the court prepares to hear the Benisek v. Lamone case on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ben Doessel is “not a huge picture guy,” he told me when I asked if he had any photos with his creative partner — and the other guy behind Ugly Gerry — James Lee.

But pictures of oddly-shaped congressional districts? He has twenty-six of those.

House Democrats show improved response to Republican messaging votes
Democrats easily defeated a Republican motion to recommit Friday to their HR 1 government overhaul

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., center, had voted for several Republican motions to recommit this year but he argued against the one the GOP offered to HR 1 Friday, calling it a “joke.” Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., right, meanwhile was one of six Democrats who voted with Republicans on that motion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats seem to have sharpened their response to Republican motions to recommit after the GOP twice bested the new majority using the procedural tool this year.

The improved messaging and whip operations around motions to recommit, or MTRs, since Democrats lost a second one early last week on a priority gun control bill seem to have quelled an immediate desire to overhaul the procedural tool.

New Democrats launch task forces to help craft the House majority’s policy agenda
Task forces focus on issue areas like health care, infrastructure, climate change, national security, trade and technology

Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., will co-chair the New Democrat Coalition’s health care task force, one of eight policy-focused work groups the centrist Democrats have launched this week. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The New Democrat Coalition is ready to help the House majority craft its policy agenda for the 116th Congress, launching eight issue-focused task forces to develop proposals on party priorities such as health care, infrastructure and climate change. 

The group of centrist Democrats has used task forces to develop policy proposals in past Congresses, but they’re particularly excited about the work the task forces will do this session now that their party is in the majority.

30 Democrats suggest Pelosi give Trump a vote on wall funding if he reopens government
Letter designed to provide clear process, timeline for debate, not guarantee passage

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., led a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, suggesting she allow a vote on President Donald Trump’s border security funding request if he reopens the government. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thirty Democrats sent a letter Wednesday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, suggesting she guarantee President Donald Trump a vote on his border security funding request if he reopens the government. 

Led by freshmen Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, the letter lays out a process that would guarantee a House vote — but not passage — on the $5.7 billion Trump has requested in border wall funding, as well as other funding he is seeking for border security needs. 

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.

Shutdown, House Democrats’ divisions set tone as new era of divided government begins
As 116th Congress begins, partial shutdown, rules package, speaker defections cast a pall

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is interviewed by Savannah Guthrie for the Today Show in the Capitol on day 12 of the partial government shutdown on January 2, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new era of divided government has arrived. Democrats officially take control of the House on Thursday as the 116th Congress convenes on the 13th day of a partial government shutdown.

The day’s floor proceedings will offer a preview of what’s to come over the next two years as House Democrats define how far left their caucus will tilt heading into the 2020 cycle and decide whether there’s any room to cooperate with President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election.