This Week on the Hill: Mental Health, Financial Services Approps in the House; GMOs in the Senate

July 5, 2016

Congress returns from its brief Independence Day recess with a full slate of legislative work to tackle before breaking for the national conventions and the body’s traditional August break later this month. The House reconvenes today and is set for a busy week after its last floor session ended abruptly due to Democrats’ dramatic sit-in on the chamber floor to force a vote on gun control proposals. House lawmakers will be set to vote tomorrow afternoon on Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-PA) mental health bill (H.R. 2646) that was unanimously passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month. Today, the lower chamber will consider a series of 16 bills under suspension of the rules, including a measure that would authorize a strategic approach for US foreign assistance directed towards alleviating global hunger (S. 1252) and another (H.R. 5210) that would aim to improve access to durable medical equipment for Medicare beneficiaries. Details on the other 14 bills due for consideration can be found here

Later this week, the House will resume its consideration of the fiscal 2017 Financial Services and General Government spending bill (H.R. 5485), which includes cuts to the budgets of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), and would also subject the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to the annual appropriations process. A rule crafted last week would allow for 70 amendments to be considered with the legislation. Other action in the House could include debate, under a closed rule, on a bill (H.R. 1270) that would alter the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by allowing health savings accounts to be used for the purchase of over-the-counter drugs. House leaders may also prime debate on a short-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and conference reports for the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 2943) and the opioid-fighting package known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) (S. 524).

The Senate returns tomorrow to a cloture vote on the vehicle (S. 764) for legislation that would create the first nationwide standard for foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Votes are also expected on a bill (S. 2193) that would increase penalties for those who illegally re-enter the U.S. after being removed, and a measure (S. 3100) that would direct so-called “sanctuary cities” to cooperate with federal officials seeking to remove undocumented immigrants suspected of crimes or terrorism. Finally, the upper chamber may take up the defense appropriations bill (S. 3000), with the parties likely to battle over a provision pushed by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) to increase the Pentagon’s budget by $18 billion. Democrats are hoping they will be included in conference negotiations on the defense measure, after being shut out of the process for the Military Construction-VA spending bill.

‘Today on the Hill’ includes updates provided by the House and Senate majority leaders, as well information derived from publications including Bloomberg Government, The Hill, Morning Consult, Kaiser Health News, Modern Healthcare, Inside Health Policy, and others.