This week in the news, ACA repeal fight gears up again with Graham-Cassidy bill, Cardin and Van Hollen urge Federal Election Commission to adopt new rules to protect online advertising from foreign influence, and Cummings continues to probe Trump administration’s many ethics violations.
- Senate Republicans have vowed a vote next week on Graham-Cassidy, the latest — and most far-reaching — proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The legislation would turn over more than $1 trillion to the states as block grants with very few strings attached, allowing states to waive many consumer protections. The bill would also limit funding of Medicaid, which currently covers one in five Americans.
- The White House and GOP leaders are furiously pitching the proposal to their Senate colleagues, but, as of Wednesday, the bill still appeared short of the 50 votes needed to pass under the budget reconciliation process.
- On Friday, Senator John McCain said he would vote against the proposal.
- Senator Cardin said the legislation “feels like Groundhog Day,” with millions of lives again at stake.
- Senator Van Hollen said Graham-Cassidy failed to pass the “Jimmy Kimmel Test.”
- Congressional Black Caucus, including Rep. Cummings (MD-7), supports Bernie’s single-payer healthcare bill.
Senator Cardin was among senior Democrats calling on the Trump administration to share any information that Tehran is not complying with the Iran nuclear agreement. In a speech to the United Nations, President Trump blasted the deal as “an embarrassment to the United States.”
Foreign influence on U.S. elections
- Senator Cardin and Senator Van Hollen joined several other Democratic lawmakers in urging the Federal Election Commission to consider new rules that would prevent foreign nationals from using online advertising platforms, like Facebook, to influence U.S. elections. This comes as Facebook agreed to turn over to Congress more than 3,000 Russia-linked ads during the 2016 presidential campaign. More here and here.
- Rep. Cummings (MD-7) called for the panel to investigate Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s use of private jets for official business; more here.
- Rep. Cummings (MD-7) is asking the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to provide more details about why it recently banned EPA senior advisor Albert Kelly from the banking business.
- A spokeswoman for Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the reason he had chartered nearly 25 private flights since May was to make “sure he is connected with the real American people.”
Reaction to Trump’s speech to the United Nations
- Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2) told WBAL NewsRadio 1090 that while he understood why the president made the comments, he notes the president’s remarks ignore diplomatic efforts to end the North Korean threat, something which is a goal of the United Nations.
- In a letter to the president, 51 House Democrats led by Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-7), urged the administration to declare a national emergency and act on one critical recommendation: ensuring that naloxone, a drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, gets into the hands of every law enforcement officer in the United States.
- In a Tuesday letter to Trump, the lawmakers, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-7) called on Trump to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency and to immediately begin negotiating reduced prices for the overdose treatment.
- More here.
- Tuesday, Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3) announced the National Park Foundation (NFP) donated over $140,000 to Baltimore City fourth graders.
- FedEx celebrates new distribution center in Sparrows Point with County and federal officials, including Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2); more here.
- Woolpert Senior Vice President Jeff Lovin has been asked to speak regarding the “NOAA Digital Coast and Disaster Preparedness” at a Congressional staff briefing Thursday. The briefing will be hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Digital Coast Partnership, in conjunction with U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2), and U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.
- Rep. Cummings (MD-7) is back at work.
- Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3), his father former Sen. Paul Sarbanes and members of the Stoop Storytelling Series will gather next month for a tribute and a night of tales about former Sen. Barbara Mikulski, according to a recent press release.
- Millions of dollars in federal grants are intended to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. “To plant trees, to cleanup trees and install storm water management, with the goal of reducing harmful run-off,” said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2).