Happy Independence Day weekend! Here’s your weekly news update:
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed a vote on Republican senators’ plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act after several GOP senators came out against the measure.
- Meanwhile, Democrats asked the Congressional Budget Office to take a longer view of the proposal, to show its effects beyond the short term. The CBO concluded that the Senate Republicans’ legislation would reduce Medicaid spending by 35 percent in two decades.
- One of the unintended effects of the House and Senate efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be cutting a project popular among Republicans: using long-distance video hookups called telemedicine to connect sick children in rural schools to big-city medical experts. Representative Sarbanes (MD-3) has sponsored the Hallways to Health Act (H.R. 1027) to create a demonstration program for school-based telemedicine programs nationwide.
- Senator Van Hollen said the Medicaid cuts in the Senate bill make that legislation “even meaner than it looks.”
- The Supreme Court ruled that a limited version of President Trump’s travel ban may take effect. Senator Cardin told Bloomberg that the ban is a mistake.
- The House passed a bill known as “Kate’s Law,” which would enhance penalties for convicted, deported criminals who reenter the United States illegally. Representative Ruppersberger (MD-2) was among twenty-four House Democrats who supported the measure.
- Trey Gowdy, the new head of the House Oversight Committee, said he plans to turn the committee away from its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Representative Cummings (MD-7), the committee’s top Democrat, said that the committee should investigate “three big issues”: “Russian interference in our electoral system, possible collusion with the Russians, and whether there was any attempt to cover it up.”
- Meanwhile, the Senate approved minor revisions to bipartisan legislation to impose sanctions on Russia and Iran. Senator Cardin was instrumental in drafting the bill, which now heads to the House.
The House Appropriations Committee voted to repeal the authorization of war that the U.S. military relies on for anti-terrorism actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. Representative Ruppersberger (MD-2) was among those who voted for the repeal.
Van Hollen in Baltimore
Senator Van Hollen finally opened his Baltimore City office.
The Washington Post reported this week that a fake Time magazine cover hangs in many of President Trump’s properties. The Hill pointed out that Senator Van Hollen has also appeared on an imitation Time cover.