Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

Voters in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District went to the polls in the last special election prior to November’s midterm elections, as Republican Troy Balderson squared off against Democrat Danny O'Connor for a House seat that the GOP has held for 35 years. As of today, Balderson still holds a 1,500-vote lead, however, the race is still too close to call as 3,435 provisional ballots that have yet to be counted. The tight margin in this reliably red district — previously represented by former Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ohio Governor John Kasich — suggests that Democratic House candidates are a threat to compete this fall in districts that have traditional been held by Republicans.

 

Today on the Hill: OH-12 Voters Head to the Polls in Bellwether Special Election

Voters in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District will head to the polls today in the last special election prior to November’s midterm elections, as Republican Troy Balderson will face off against Democrat Danny O'Connor for a House seat that the GOP has held for 35 years. The district — previously represented by former Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ohio Governor John Kasich — was largely perceived as an easy win for the Republicans given the seat’s longstanding GOP history and its R+7 Partisan Voter Index (PVI) rating by the Cook Political Report. However, recent polls have shown that the race has tightened to within one point, prompting massive campaign spending in the final weeks by GOP fundraising apparatuses. A Democratic win, or even a close loss, would indicate that Democratic House candidates have a significant advantage going into November’s midterm elections. Elsewhere, voters in Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, and Washington will head to the polls for primary elections today.

 

Financial Services Report

 

Looking Ahead

Near Term

The House and Senate are out this week.

Further Out

The Senate Banking Committee is expected to vote on a series of nominations in August.   The vote had been scheduled for last Thursday but was scrapped when the Senate finished up its floor schedule earlier than anticipated triggering an earlier departure for the abbreviated recess.   While a new date has yet to be announced, it is expected to take place during this August work period.

The Senate returns on Wednesday August 15th and will return to the slog of nominations, with two more Judges teed up for consideration. 

The Senate is also expected to take up another minibus spending bill (Defense / Labor HHS). 

Other items that the Senate could take up in August (though not likely) are the FAA bill and the Water Infrastructure (WRDA) bill.

 

Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

While House lawmakers returned to their districts for August recess, the Senate reconvened for another week of legislative work prior to leaving for a two-week break. The upper chamber cleared a host of priorities including: (1) a four-bill appropriations minibus (H.R. 6147) containing the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Interior, and Financial Services appropriations packages; (2) a short-term funding reauthorization (S.1182) for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); and (3) approving the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report (H.R. 5515). Senators also continued their push to clear the presidential nominations queue, confirming Britt Cagle Grant to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.

 

Today on the Hill: Senate Leaves Town After Passing NDAA Conference Report, Approps Minibus

Following the passage of an appropriations minibus (H.R. 6147) containing the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Interior, and Financial Services appropriations bills — as well as the conference report for the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 5515) — Senate lawmakers have left Washington for a brief recess. The upper chamber will return on Wednesday, August 15th at noon and will seek to clear the nominations of Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. and Julius Ness Richardson to be judges on the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court. The Senate is also expected to consider another appropriations measure that combines defense spending (S.3159) and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations (S.3158).

 

Today on the Hill: Senate Set to Approve Short-Term Funding Fix for Flood Insurance Program

The Senate convenes today to deal with one of their most pressing deadlines — reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Senators will vote today on a bill (S.1182) that would extend the program through November, giving lawmakers in both chambers additional time to iron out a long-term funding bill that would reform the program and address debt concerns. The measure is expected to clear the upper chamber prior to the 11:59 p.m. deadline, ensuring that homeowners are covered through the end of this year’s hurricane season.

 

Financial Services Report

 

Looking Ahead

Near Term

The House is in Recess until September. The Senate is in session this week and is expected to finish up its work on its mini-bus of the T-HUD, Ag, Interior and FSGG spending bills. 

After that, the Senate could vote on any of the following:

  • A short-term funding reauthorization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP);
  • Approving the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report (H.R. 5515); and
  • A vote on the nomination of Britt Cagle Grant to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit.

 

This Week on the Hill: Senate Seeks to Clear Series of Legislative Priorities

The Senate returns for another week of legislative work as it seeks to clear a host of priorities before heading out of town for an abbreviated August recess. Today, Senators will continue their push to clear the presidential nominations queue with a vote on the nomination of Britt Cagle Grant to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit. Following a vote on the Grant nomination, the upper chamber will then turn its attention to: (1) a four-bill appropriations minibus (H.R. 6147) containing the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Interior, and Financial Services appropriations packages; (2) a short-term funding reauthorization (S.1182) for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); and (3) approving the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report (H.R. 5515). Additionally, while a vote has yet to be scheduled by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate is also poised to name its team of farm bill negotiators this week with a vote to go to conference with the House on the agriculture package (H.R. 2).

 

Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

The White House rode a wave of positive economic news last week as President Trump touted his tax and regulatory policies as drivers of the best economic growth in nearly four years. The U.S. economy expanded at a 4.1 percent rate in the April-to-June quarter, the highest level since growth hit 5.2 percent in the third quarter of 2014, the Commerce Department reported. Republicans are hoping that a string of good economic news will bolster their hopes in the November midterm elections, and President Trump recently indicated he plans to take an active role in bringing that message to voters — the President told Fox News' Sean Hannity on Friday "I will go six or seven days a week when we're 60 days out and I will be campaigning for all of these great people that do have a difficult race." While President Trump has proven his power to sway GOP primaries, it remains to be seen how voters will react to his midterm message, particularly in swing districts that will determine which party has control of the House.

 

Today on the Hill: Flood Insurance Reauthorization Hits Snag on House Floor

The House’s planned legislative schedule for the week has faced its first hiccup due to an intraparty divide among Republicans over a short-term reauthorization (S.1182) for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A vote on the planned reauthorization for the program was pulled from the House’s suspension calendar yesterday due to differences between House Financial Services Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), with the former arguing that another stopgap measure for the program was financially unsustainable. The program — which is set to expire on July 31 — is $20 billion in debt and has been subject to intense bipartisan negotiations over a long-term reauthorization and reform bill, but those discussions have not advanced sufficiently to avoid the need for a short-term extension at the end of the month. The short-term reauthorization is on the House’s suspension calendar again today, but it remains unclear whether the Republican lawmakers will reach an agreement before this afternoon’s scheduled vote series. Given that the program expires July 31, flood insurance reauthorization is considered a must-pass bill for the House before it recesses at the end of the week.