Financial Services Report

What a week that that was.  Between the convergence of the end of the fundraising quarters, the House getting out until after the election and the Kavanaugh hearing, it was certainly one of the maddest weeks in Washington, DC in recent memory.   

However, there was also a lot going on in Congress in the Administration beyond those things.  So if you missed any of it, hopefully this newsletter will bring you up to speed. 

 

Today on the Hill: House Set to Pass Opioid Crisis Response Legislation

The House will convene for their last day of legislative business before the midterm elections, as GOP leaders seek to send their Members home with a fresh pair of policy accomplishments to campaign on. Following months of negotiations, the House is set to pass a sweeping opioid crisis response bill (H.R. 6). The bill underwent a few last minute changes that would make the legislation budget-neutral following a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projection that showed the bill would grow the deficit by $44 million. These changes include: (1) broadening the Affordable Care Act’s religious exemption to the law’s individual mandate so it applies to people who forgo medical care due to religious reasons; and (2) modification of the “pay-for-delay” legislation (S.2554) to address drug patent settlements approved by both chambers earlier this month. Once passed, the Senate will need to vote on the final version of the underlying bill before it heads to President Trump’s desk for signature into law. 

 

Today on the Hill: House Set to Clear Defense-Labor-HHS Spending Measure, FAA Reauthorization

House lawmakers will reconvene this morning as the lower chamber seeks to check off key legislative priorities. The House is set vote on the minibus package containing the Defense-Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS) FY 2019 funding bills (H.R. 6157) (bill textconference reportsummary). The Defense-Labor-HHS package will also serve as the vehicle for a continuing resolution (CR) through December 7th — allowing Congress to avert a shutdown and punt decisions on unresolved issues until after the mid-term elections.

 

Today on the Hill: House Set to Tackle Lengthy Suspension List

House lawmakers return to Washington today as they seek to clear a full slate of legislative priorities. The lower chamber’s week will start with consideration of 38 bills under suspension of the rules. Among the bills under consideration include two Senate-passed bills — The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S. 2554) and the Know The Lowest Price Act (S. 2553) — that seek to crack down on the use of “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from telling customers that they could save money by paying cash out-of-pocket rather than using their insurance benefit. S. 2554 applies to all private insurance plans, whereas S. 2553 covers Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.

 

This Week on the Hill: Congress Returns to End-of-Month Legislative Scramble

Both chambers return to action this week as lawmakers prepare to tackle a host of legislative and government funding priorities before the September 30th government funding deadline. The Senate will reconvene today and immediately turn its attention to its presidential nominations queue. As of now, Senators are expected to consider the nominations of Jackie Walcott to be a Representative of the United States to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Peter Feldman to be Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

 

Health Policy Report

The Week in Review

While House lawmakers left Washington for a district work week, the Senate reconvened last week for a brief legislative session. The upper chamber cleared a highly anticipated package of bills to address the nation’s opioid crisis — the Opioid Crisis Response Act (H.R. 6) — setting up a conference with the House to iron out the final details of the response legislation. The Senate also continued work on the FY 2019 appropriations process with final passage of the Defense-Labor-HHS-Education conference report.

 

Financial Services Report

Our Take

As this is probably the penultimate update before the midterm elections, it is worth taking a moment to put an element of the potential “blue wave” in perspective.   While newspapers and clickbait websites want to push a narrative that this primary season showed both a far-leftward and anti-establishment lurch by Democrats, a simple examination of the facts shows that is not the case.   Certainly, the primary losses by Representatives Crowley and Capuano may reflect those sentiments, but the reality is that the DCCC (i.e., the establishment) endorsed candidate won 95% of the time.  Further, the moderate Democrat (i.e., the New Democratic backed candidate) was successful about 87% of the time, while the ultra-progressive left-wing groups only had about a 30% win rate in the primaries.  While the current make-up of the Democratic party in the House favors the progressives, it seems pretty clear that any future Democratic majority will be built on a foundation of moderates, and that this should temper the agenda of the Democrats in 2019.  

 

Next Week on the Hill: House Seeks to Clear Defense-Labor-HHS Spending Measures; Senate Returns to Nominations

The House returns from its week-long recess on Tuesday as lawmakers aim to keep the government funded beyond the September 30th deadline. The House will vote on the minibus package containing Defense-Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS) FY 2019 funding bills (H.R. 6157) (bill textconference reportsummary). The Defense-Labor-HHS package will also serve as the vehicle for a continuing resolution (CR) through December 7th — allowing Congress to avert a shutdown and punt decisions on controversial issues until after the mid-term elections.

 

Today on the Hill: Senate Eyes Completion of Defense-Labor-HHS Conference Report; Kavanaugh Confirmation Vote Delayed

Following passage of the highly anticipated opioid response legislation, the Senate will reconvene this morning to check off an additional big ticket legislative item. The upper chamber is slated to vote on the Defense-Labor-HHS-Education conference report today as Congress seeks to keep the government funded beyond the September 30th funding deadline. The report includes both a year-long funding package for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for FY 2019, along with a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that would keep remaining agencies funded through December 7th while negotiations continue.

 

This Week on the Hill: Opioid Package, Defense-Labor-HHS Conference Report Headline Senate Floor Action

The Senate is slated to reconvene this afternoon when it will hold a vote on a highly anticipated package of bills to address the nation’s opioid crisis. The Opioid Crisis Response Act (section-by-section) comprises more than 70 bills reported out of five Senate committees and touches on nearly every aspect of the epidemic. If passed, the bill will need to be reconciled with the House-passed measure (H.R. 6) prior to becoming law. For the balance of the week, the upper chamber is also expected to vote on the Defense-Labor-HHS-Education conference report as Congress seeks to beat the September 30 government funding deadline.