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Today on the Hill: Disaster Relief Bill Clears the Senate

Late yesterday, Senators broke a monthslong impasse on disaster relief aid by passing (85-8) a $19.1 billion measure prior to leaving Washington. Congressional negotiators clinched a deal on a final package that would provide: (1) $3 billion for farm disaster assistance; (2) $2.4 billion for Community Block Development Grants; and (3) $3.25 billion for Army Corps of Engineers flood control and storm damage mitigation projects. Meanwhile, the bill does not include a deal on President Donald Trump’s border security request and also omits other rumored policy riders such as Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund reform and Violence Against Women Act reauthorization.

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Health Policy Report

The Week in Review House Democrats forced Republicans to vote against some of their own drug pricing bills last week by packaging them with measures intended to shore up the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As part of the package, Democrats voted on three bills that would help remove barriers to generic drugs entering the market and would crack down on tactics that lawmakers say pharmaceutical companies use to tamp down competition and keep prices high. The bills were bipartisan and passed unanimously out of the Energy and Commerce Committee, but Democratic leaders combined them with legislation rolling back some of what they call the administration’s “sabotage” of the ACA, challenging Republicans to vote against them.