policy

Overlooked plans to add Medicare benefits get more attention
Savings from drug pricing bill would cover additional dental, vision, hearing coverage under Democratic plan

New Jersey Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a dentist who was elected to Congress in 2018, supports adding dental coverage to Medicare but says ensuring a fair reimbursement rate will be crucial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A long-shot bid to expand health care benefits for seniors is beginning to gain attention as part of Democrats’ signature health care bill, which the House is expected to vote on Thursday. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and committee leaders are aiming to use savings from the drug bill to add dental, hearing and vision benefits to Medicare. Democrats say the legislation could result in $500 billion in savings over a decade, based on guidance they received from the Congressional Budget Office. 

Democrats ‘got completely rolled’ in NDAA talks, critics say
Litany of progressive provisions fails to make conference committee report

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan is calling for a national conversation on repeated increases to defense spending. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The final defense authorization measure for the current fiscal year represents a victory for Republicans.

That’s the word from a large number of angry Democrats in Congress, their supporters and, more discreetly, from many Republicans.

Trump thumbs nose at impeachment, Dems by hosting Putin’s top diplomat
Russia expert on Oval meeting: ‘It could either enable or obstruct progress on Ukraine’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference to unveil articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

As President Donald Trump live-tweeted his reaction to House Democrats’ impeachment articles, his spokeswoman vowed he would “continue to work on behalf of this country.” Hours later, that business included huddling privately with Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat in the Oval Office.

Trump essentially thumbed his nose at Democrats as they continued linking his July 25 telephone conversation with Ukraine’s president to an alleged affinity for Russia’s as he hosted Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s minister of foreign affairs. If Lavrov steps foot in the Oval Office, it’s a safe bet there is a controversy nearby.

Do points of order eat up all of a committee’s time?
There are rules in the House Judiciary Committee to ensure that both parties get their allotted time

Rep. Jamie Raskin reads a copy of “The Federalist Papers” during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry on Monday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

While there were a number of them in Monday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, points of order do not take up the opposing party’s time in House Judiciary committee proceedings, according to Communications Director Shadawn Reddick-Smith, and there are several rules in place to ensure that. 

Final defense authorization authorizes epic spending and puts guardrails on Trump
Agreement creates new branch of military with Space Force within Air Force

An F-35 flies past the U.S. Capitol dome in June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A House-Senate conference committee has filed a $735.2 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal 2020 that creates a new branch of the military and erects guardrails to keep the president from straying too far afield in foreign policy.

According to a bipartisan summary of the bill by the House and Senate Armed Services committees made public Monday night, the measure would authorize $658.4 billion in so-called base budgets, mainly at the Defense and Energy departments, plus an additional $71.5 billion for overseas campaigns and $5.3 billion for disaster relief.

Regulators warn about fraudsters creating synthetic borrowers
Information cobbled together from multiple people used to make fake identities, establish credit

The Federal Reserve has issued warnings about synthetic identity fraud and is expected to release a report in early 2020 outlining ways that financial companies can mitigate the problem. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The financial technology industry that’s upending consumer finance could be the solution to a kind of identity fraud that’s dogging traditional banks and fintech companies alike.

It’s called synthetic identity fraud, where instead of stealing one person’s information, criminals synthesize a false identity using information from many people — usually those unlikely to monitor their credit, like children, the elderly, prisoners or the homeless. Fraudsters then establish a credit history for the fake person over time until they can trick banks or financial technology companies into lending them money.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 10
Democrats went without impeachment article from Mueller investigation

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler announces the charges against President Donald Trump as, from left, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and chairmen Maxine Waters, Richard Neal and Adam Schiff listen. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are raising issue with the lack of an impeachment hearing with minority witnesses, as GOP members of the Judiciary Committee have repeatedly requested.

“We will avail ourselves of every parliamentary tool available to us in committees and the House floor in order to highlight your inaction,” they wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Homeland Security announces easing of facial recognition rule
Lawmakers, civil rights groups and tech companies have raised privacy concerns

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has clarified that facial recognition scans at airports remain voluntary for U.S. citizens. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Homeland Security officials continue to step back from their published plan to require use of facial recognition technology on American citizens at U.S. airports when they arrive from or depart to international destinations.

The Trump administration’s proposed mandatory use of the technology was included in the so-called unified agenda, published in late November, which sets out the regulatory changes agencies intend to pursue in coming months. The proposal sought to expand mandatory facial recognition at U.S. airports “to provide that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure.”

Judges ponder lawmaker right to sue over Trump businesses
Legal challenge rests on the constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause

A lawsuit led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., claims President Donald Trump is supposed to get consent from Congress before accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments under the Foreign Emoluments Clause. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal appeals court suggested Monday that individual members of Congress can’t pursue a lawsuit against President Donald Trump over allegations he violated a constitutional ban on financially benefiting from the office.

An attorney for more than 200 lawmakers — led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. — told a three-judge panel that Trump is supposed to get consent from Congress before accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments under the Foreign Emoluments Clause.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 9
Judiciary hears findings of impeachment investigation in contentious hearing

Daniel Goldman, left, majority counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, and Steve Castor, minority counsel, are sworn in to the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing Monday on the Intelligence Committee’s report on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s gavel got a workout when Republicans raised a number of objections, unanimous consent requests and parliamentary inquiries in the committee’s impeachment hearing on Monday.

“The steamroll continues!” ranking member Doug Collins said as Nadler called upon Barry Berke, counsel for House Democrats. Republicans were shouting over each other and Nadler’s gavel as they attempted to submit their dissatisfaction with the proceedings.