House lawmakers have convened for legislative business to close out the week. On the floor, the House is considering a resolution out of the Foreign Affairs Committee that would express support for a negotiated two-state solution in Israel and Palestine. The lower chamber will also take up a bill that would amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to create a new way to measure if states require oversight for violating minority voting rights. In the upper chamber, Senators have adjourned for the week and will return Monday to consider the nomination of Patrick Bumatay to be a Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit Court.
Meanwhile, spending negotiations for fiscal year (FY) 2020 are expected to continue into the weekend with two weeks left until the Dec. 20 funding deadline. Appropriations Cardinals have expressed cautious optimism about the current state of these talks, but warned that there likely won’t be enough time to move the bills through both chambers unless a deal formulates within the next few days. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated last night that lawmakers will need to pass another stopgap funding measure that will fund the government “just after Christmas” if an agreement isn’t reached. Key issues that remain unresolved include Title X family planning grants, gun violence research, and border wall funding.
Looking ahead to next week, the House is expected to take up the Democrats’ signature drug pricing legislation after leadership indicated they had “received enough guidance” from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to move forward with the bill. The measure would: (1) permit negotiations on insulins and up to 250 other drugs annually, with prices backstopped at 120 percent of the average of prices in a basket of rich countries and severe penalties for nonparticipation in negotiations; (2) place caps on prescription drugs’ annual price growth; and (3) restructure the Medicare Part D benefit. While the bill is expected to pass the House, consideration by the Senate is unlikely given opposition by President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans.