Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

The House (300-128) and Senate (83-16) overwhelmingly passed a compromise spending measure (textsummary) to avert a second partial government shutdown last week. The bill was signed by President Trump, who simultaneously issued a national emergency declaration in order to tap into Congressionally appropriated funds for additional border security spending, including: (1) $600 million from a Treasury forfeiture fund; (2) $2.5 billion from a Defense Department drug interdiction program; and (3) $3.5 billion from the military construction budget. The president’s move will likely face a challenge in Congress, as well as a tough battle in the courts, as Democrats prepare legislative and legal options to prevent the circumvention.

 

Financial Services Report (2/19)

Looking Ahead
  • The Schedule returns with a vengeance for the last week of February as the semi-annual required testimony of Fed Chair takes place, first in the Senate on the 26th and then in the House.

  • Also on Feb 26th, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Credit Reporting Agencies with at least the CEOs of the so-called “Big Three." 

  • And also on Feb 26th the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce will hold hearing on data privacy. The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the “Policy Principles for a Data Privacy Framework in the United States).

  • According to the WSJ, the CEO of Wells Fargo will have the honor of testifying before the House Financial Services twice – first on his own, presumably to talk specifically about the bank, and then with his fellow CEOs of the largest financial institutions, when the Committee reportedly will be holding a hearing in April.

  • The Debt Limit is set to return on March 2nd.  While extraordinary measures can allow the government to extend the breaching of the law into the summer, both sides appear to be gearing up in a way that indicates it may be a bumpy ride once again.  Interestingly, the House Rules now allow for the ceiling to be raised via a budget resolution, but is unclear if that is a better political outcome than a straight vote on the debt ceiling.  

 

Today on the Hill: Congress Aims to Pass Newly Unveiled Spending Deal

Border security negotiators unveiled a compromise spending deal (text; summary) late last night as lawmakers sprint to clear the bill ahead of tomorrow’s funding deadline. While lawmakers on both sides have crowed over the deal for omitting their respective policy priorities, the measure is expected to clear both chambers in order to avoid a second partial government shutdown. President Trump is also expected to sign the bill despite falling short of his $5.7 billion border wall request.

 

Today on the Hill: Lawmakers Await Details of Highly Anticipated Funding Deal

Lawmakers are poised to unveil details of a comprehensive border security deal that they hope will prevent a partial government shutdown ahead of Friday’s deadline. The deal — headlined by a Homeland Security appropriations bill including $1.375 billion in border security funding — is expected to be signed by President Trump once it passes both chambers despite falling short of the President’s $5.7 billion priority. The agreement will also fund the other six outstanding appropriations bills through the end of this fiscal year, including: Agriculture; Commerce, Justice and Science; Financial Services and General Government; Interior and Environment; State and Foreign operations; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

 

Financial Services Report (2/11)

Our Take

A legend of Congress and of American history, John Dingell passed away at the age of 92 last Thursday.   He served in Congress for nearly 60 years, and was involved in, and saw a lot of legislative sausage being made.   He served as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from 1981 to 1994 and then again from 2008-2010.   At the height of his power the Committee had such a broad jurisdiction that half of the bills that congress considered emanated out of his Committee.   They don’t make members like John Dingell anymore, and if you didn’t know him, this clip from the waning hours of the debate on the Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill from 1999 is a pretty good summation.  

 

This Week on the Hill: Funding Negotiations Continue as Friday Deadline Looms

Congress will return to Washington today as lawmakers scramble to fund the government ahead of Friday’s deadline. Despite optimism heading into the weekend about reaching a border security deal and funding the government past the Feb. 15 deadline, negotiators of the bipartisan border security Conference Committee indicated Sunday that the talks have hit an impasse over immigration detention policy and the total funding allocation. The talks have reportedly shifted away from a broader deal and toward a continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government funded and provide negotiators with additional time.

 

Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

Members of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Conference Committee resumed talks last week in hopes reaching a deal to avoid a second partial government shutdown. Despite optimism heading into the weekend about reaching a border security deal and funding the government past the Feb. 15 deadline, negotiators of the bipartisan border security Conference Committee indicated Sunday that the talks have hit an impasse over immigration detention policy and the total funding allocation. The talks have reportedly shifted away from a broader deal and toward a continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government funded and provide negotiators with additional time.

 

Next Week in Congress: DHS Conference Committee Looks to Push Border Deal Across the Finish Line

Members of the bipartisan border security conference committee are reportedly close to clinching a deal that would not provide President Trump with his $5.7 border wall request but would avert a second shutdown. The proposal — which could be unveiled later today or Monday — would keep the government funded and provide additional border security spending on patrol agents, fencing, and upgraded detection technology. Lawmakers on the Conference Committee have indicated they will do whatever it takes to avoid another funding lapse despite the President’s potential opposition of the final deal.

 

Today on the Hill: Senate Begins Consideration of Sweeping Federal Lands Package

Senators are set to begin consideration of a bipartisan federal lands package championed by conservation advocacy groups. The Natural Resources Management Act (S.47) would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — a program that uses federal oil and gas royalties from offshore drilling to fund acquisitions and easements of land and water — and also includes a host of provisions that would increase recreational access to federal lands and add to national parks and other land holdings. The Senate attempted to pass the lands package late last year in hopes of addressing the LWCF’s funding lapse, but was blocked by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY).

 

This Week on the Hill: Border Security Talks Set to Resume; Trump to Deliver SOTU on Tuesday

Congress returns this week as lawmakers resume border security Conference Committee negotiations. The odds of another funding lapse were raised after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) emphasized that the Democratic border security proposal will not include funding for President Trump’s border wall priority. If the Conference Committee is unable to produce a deal that appeases President Trump, the President has reiterated he is willing to either shut down the government again, or bypass Congress and utilize military construction resources for the wall through a national emergency declaration.