health-care

Trump — not lawmakers — set to be biggest challenge for new legislative affairs chief Ueland
No matter who runs Hill shop, president’s approach is ‘very unlikely to yield results,’ expert says

Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi, right, introduces Eric Ueland at his confirmation hearing to be under secretary of State for management in September 2017. That nomination was later withdrawn, but Ueland will be President Donald Trump’s third legislative affairs director, starting Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Eric Ueland, hand-picked by President Donald Trump to be his third legislative affairs director, has decades of experience in the D.C. “swamp” his soon-to-be boss loathes. But the former senior GOP aide will quickly learn it is the president alone who is, as one official put it Thursday, “the decider.”

Ueland has been chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and a Senate Budget Committee staff director. Experts and former officials describe him as highly qualified for the tough task of being the messenger between Trump and a Congress with a Democrat-controlled House that regularly riles up the president and a Senate where Republicans lack votes to pass most major legislation.

House floor shenanigans punctuate start of spending season
Democrat calls GOP males ‘sex-starved,’ while Republicans use procedural delay tactics

From left, Republicans Justin Amash, Chip Roy and Jim Jordan are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee markup on Wednesday. Roy was requiring the House to conduct roll call votes on noncontroversial amendments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional proceedings are usually pretty dry, but on Wednesday, House floor watchers might as well have been tuned into a reality TV show given all the shenanigans occurring as lawmakers debated their first spending package for the upcoming fiscal year.

Between a Democratic lawmaker calling her GOP male colleagues “sex-starved” and Republicans using a series of procedural tricks to delay proceedings, there was no shortage of tension to kick off the fiscal 2020 appropriations process.

After rebuke from Jon Stewart, panel approves 9/11 victim bill
Without funding, victims face cuts to promised compensation, as much as 70 percent

Former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, New York Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney and Speaker Nancy Pelosi talk on the Speaker’s balcony Tuesday after a meeting iabout funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation extending the fund. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A day after comedian Jon Stewart chastised lawmakers for their sparse attendance at a hearing on legislation to help victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill without even calling a roll call vote, extending a victims fund for decades while offering whatever funding is needed.

Stewart and lawmakers representing the victims have expressed frustration with Congress’ pace in moving the legislation, even after the overseer of the victims fund, Rupa Bhattacharyya, announced in February that she would have to cut payouts to victims for lack of money.

Repeal of abortion funding ban won’t be part of spending debate, sponsor says
Longstanding Hyde amendment unlikely to be addressed on House floor this week

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., speaks with reporters as she leaves the House Democrats’ caucus meeting in the Capitol on June 4, 2019. Jayapal co-sponsored a proposal to repeal the Hyde amendment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An amendment to repeal a 42-year-old prohibition on using federal public health funds for abortions won’t be part of the debate on a nearly $1 trillion appropriations bill covering the Department of Health and Human Services and several other agencies.

That was the view Monday night of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, who co-sponsored a proposal to repeal the Hyde amendment, which the appropriations package headed to the House floor this week would continue. The language is named for its author, the late Illinois Republican Rep. Henry J. Hyde.

Democrats’ Spending Bill Strategy
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 113

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says he'd like to have all 12 spending bills done by the end of June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are packaging spending bills with the aim of completing all 12 by the end of the month, a goal that is likely to generate a lot of policy debates and amendments, explains Jennifer Shutt in this episode of the CQ Budget podcast. The first package contains five bills including the two largest, Defense and Labor-HHS-Education.

Trump backtracks from comment that U.K. health service would be part of trade talks
Outgoing PM May on Tuesday appeared to leave wiggle room in nascent negotiations

British Prime Minister Theresa May, President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump pose outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday. Trump backtracked from a pledge that the U.K.'s National Health Service would be part of trade deal talks. (Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Attempting to keep hopes of a sweeping U.S.-U.K. trade pact alive, President Donald Trump reversed himself by taking Britain’s National Health Service off the table.

I don't see it being on the table. Somebody asked me a question today and I say everything is up for negotiation, because everything is but I don't see that being,” the U.S. leader told “Good Morning Britain” on ITV in an interview that aired Wednesday morning. “That's something that I would not consider part of trade. That's not trade.”

Abortion-rights groups sue HHS over conscience rule
It’s the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that may affect abortion and contraception access

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, speaks at an abortion-rights rally at Supreme Court in Washington to protest new state bans on abortion services on May 21, 2019. On Tuesday several abortion-rights and LGBT advocacy groups announced they would file a challenge a Trump Administration rule that may affect access to abortion and contraception. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several abortion-rights and LGBT advocacy groups announced Tuesday that they filed the fourth major lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that could affect access to abortion and contraception.

The challenge comes a week after state attorneys general filed different lawsuits also attempting to block the final rule from going into effect this year.

Missouri’s last abortion provider could close as early as Friday
Planned Parenthood alleges that the state is refusing to renew its licensing agreement

Hundreds of women and supporters attend a protest rally over recent restrictive abortion laws on May 21, 2019, in St Louis, Missouri. Planned Parenthood announced it would file a lawsuit with the Circuit Court in St. Louis Tuesday to keep its last abortion provider open, in an effort to keep providing abortions. (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

Missouri could become the first state in the country without a single abortion provider as soon as Friday, according to Planned Parenthood.

The group alleges that the state is refusing to renew its licensing agreement, days after the governor signed into law one of the toughest abortion bans in the country.

Drug pricing legislation may not affect a new $2.1 million gene therapy drug
The blockbuster drug Zolgensma, which treats spinal muscular atrophy, is now the most expensive drug in the world

The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters is seen in White Oak, Md. The agency approved a $2.1 million Novartis therapy for spinal muscular atrophy Friday, making it the world’s most expensive drug. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The recent approval of a treatment poised to become the world’s most expensive drug comes as Congress debates measures meant to address high prices — yet so far what lawmakers are attempting might not impact cases like this $2.1 million therapy.

The FDA announced Friday it was approving Novartis AG’s gene therapy Zolgensma, a one-time treatment designed to help young children with spinal muscular atrophy. The agency’s announcement said the safety and effectiveness of the drug was based on clinical trials that yielded positive results for patients with the rare disease.

Trump proposal would roll back transgender, abortion protections
HHS says new regulation would save $3.6 billion in the first five years

Abortion opponents demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in June 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday proposed to roll back protections under the 2010 health care law related to sex discrimination, which some advocates worry could affect health care access for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The proposal would reverse an Obama-era policy that protected gender identity and termination of pregnancy under non-discrimination protections.