This Week in Congress

Senator Rand Paul’s amendment to H.R. 3055 (the omnibus appropriations bills), which cut spending by a mere 2%, failed by a vote of 24-67.

With the federal deficit reaching 960 billion dollars, it is outrageous that only 24 senators would vote to cut 2% from federal programs.

You can see the roll-call vote here.

The Senate is expected to vote on passing H.R. 3055, which will serve as the vehicle for a House-Senate conference to work out their differences.

The Senate will also vote on a Congressional Review Act measure overturning Trump Administration guidance for states that have received “Section 1332” waivers, which allow states relief from ObamaCare’s mandates in order to pursue their own health policies.

Democrats object to the fact that the Trump administration would allow states to give individuals direct control over health care dollars by placing ObamaCare subsidies in a personal account for them. Even worse for ObamaCare, the Trump administration would allow states to let individuals choose to buy plans they find more affordable and better suited for their needs.

Of course, Democrats deny they are opposed to individual choices, and instead claim that the Trump administration guidance somehow weakens the pre-existing condition mandate—even though nothing in the guidance weakens the pre-existing condition mandate.

You can read more about this issue here.

 The House is in session Monday through Thursday.

On Thursday, the House will consider legislation authorizing the committees of jurisdiction to continue their impeachment investigation. It will also outline procedures for holding public hearings on the impeachment investigation and for releasing interview transcripts.

The House will consider H.Res. 296, which states that it is the policy of the United States to “commemorate the Armenian genocide” and reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States government with denial of the Armenian genocide or any other genocide and encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian genocide, including the United States role in the humanitarian relief effort and the relevance of the Armenian genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.

If it seems strange for Congress to take this up, keep in mind that the Turks are the ones held responsible for Armenian genocide and whether or not this is a genocide is a contentious issue in US-Turkish relations. So, this is a slap in the face to the Trump administration.

The House will also consider a number of bills making public lands off-limits to mining or other development. They include:

H.R. 1373— Makes some public lands in Arizona off-limits to mining.

H.R. 2181—Limits development in the Chaco Cultural Heritage area in New Mexico.

H.R. 823—Designates some areas in Colorado as wilderness areas.

The House will also consider the following suspension bills:

H.R. 4695—Imposes sanctions on Turkish officials and individuals dealing with those officials and blocks transfer of arms from US forces in Syria to Turkish forces. This is designed to rebuke President Trump’s efforts to withdraw US forces from Syria.

H.R. 1623—Allows candidates to use campaign funds for personal expenses like health and childcare if this will enable them to stay in the race—this is aimed at helping middle-and low-income citizens run for office.

H.R. 1781—Requires the Payment Commission for Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP to collect data on drug discounts and rebates. The purpose is to see the effectiveness of Pharmaceutical Benefit Managers in reducing costs for patients.

H.R. 2115—Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to post information regarding pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and prescription drugs. This bill passed by a unanimous vote.

H.R. 647—Creates a new federal grant program, this one for palliative care education.

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