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. 

The lower chamber will also vote on a bill — The Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Act (textsummary) — that would provide permanence for the individual tax cuts in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) beyond their scheduled expiration date at the end of 2025.

Senate floor action remains in a state of flux following a contentious confirmation hearing that examined an allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The Senate is expected to conduct legislative business following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, however, Senate Leadership has yet to announce what the chamber will be working on for the balance of the day. Reports suggest that the upper chamber may be in session over the weekend to deal with the Kavanaugh nomination, as well as reauthorization of both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).