News digest – July 3, 2017

Happy Independence Day weekend! Here’s your weekly news update:

Health care

  • 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.”

Immigration

Russia

  • 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.

Military authorization

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.

Time Magazine

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.  

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