health care

Democrats face pressure in debates on overhauling health care
But candidates will likely have little time to offer up new details about their plans

Supporters hold “Medicare for All” signs during a rally in front of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in Washington on April 29 . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When 20 of the Democratic presidential candidates take the debate stage Wednesday and Thursday, one key difference that could emerge is whether candidates say they would seek another overhaul of the nation’s health insurance system.

The debate will be an opportunity for the White House aspirants to outline their health care plans — an issue that polls consistently show is a priority for Democratic voters. Most of the party’s 24 candidates have yet to release their own comprehensive plans explaining their priorities on an issue that contrasts significantly with President Donald Trump’s approach.

Nine spending bills down, three to go in House
Not a single House Republican has voted for any of the spending bills, and the White House opposes them too

Chairman Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., right, full committee chair Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., conduct a House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing in Rayburn Building on April 9, 2019. Nine of the 12 annual bills needed for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 have been passed. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House passed its second batch of fiscal 2020 spending measures Tuesday, in a $322 billion package that would block Trump administration policies on offshore drilling, a health care court challenge, the 2020 census and more.

On a mostly party-line vote of 227-194, the House passed the Democrat-written measure that combines five of the 12 annual bills needed for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Those are the Commerce-Justice-Science bill, which is the underlying vehicle, along with the Military Construction-VA, Agriculture, Transportation-HUD and the Interior-Environment bills.

9/11 survivors get Mitch McConnell's commitment for Senate vote on compensation fund
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had announced the bill had 60 supporters in the Senate

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., says the 9/11 first responders and survivors fund reauthorization has 60 co-sponsors. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 6:09 p.m. | The Senate will be taking up 9/11 victims compensation fund legislation this summer, and the bill should be expected to reach President Donald Trump’s desk.

That was the word from first responders and their supporters after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill.

CBO: US debt growth is slowing, but is still headed for record highs
If debt growth continues, it will surpass the current record high set in fiscal 1946 after the massive World War II military buildup

The Congressional Budget Office in Washington, DC. The agency projected federal debt held by the public will nearly double as a share of the U.S. economy, from 78 percent today to 144 percent by fiscal 2049. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Federal debt held by the public will nearly double as a share of the U.S. economy, from 78 percent today to 144 percent by fiscal 2049, the Congressional Budget Office projected Tuesday.

By contrast, the record high currently stands at 106 percent of gross domestic product, in fiscal 1946 after the massive World War II military buildup; that record is likely to be breached in fiscal 2037 under the CBO’s updated scenario.

Supreme Court to decide whether Congress can use riders to defund laws
The court will decide a trio of cases dealing with $12 billion in payments to insurers related to the 2010 health care law’s exchanges

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on April 22, 2015. A Federal Circuit Court cited a statement from Rogers in its decision in a case now headed to the Supreme Court over whether lawmakers should be allowed to effectively repeal a previous law by preventing payments to the program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Supreme Court will delve into how much power members of Congress wield when they insert riders on appropriations bills, in a trio of cases that deals with $12 billion in payments to insurers related to the 2010 health care law’s exchanges.

The justices agreed Monday to decide whether lawmakers can essentially repeal a previous law that obligates government payments by later adding riders to a spending bill to prevent those payments.

Trump order to make medical service costs more transparent
The order will require hospitals and insurers to provide more information on costs of medical services before patients receive them

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order during an East Room event at the White House on March 21, 2019. Trump signed an executive order Monday that would put rules in place requiring hospitals and insurers to provide more information about the costs of medical services before a patient receives them. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Monday will issue an executive order directing his administration to put rules in place requiring hospitals and insurers to provide more information about the costs of medical services before a patient receives them.

The order will kick off a process at the Health and Human Services Department to develop rules for the transparency requirements. The new rules will be meant to require hospitals to publicly post charges for common items and services in a consumer-friendly manner, and to require insurers to inform patients about the amounts they must pay before services are actually provided.

Trump’s poverty proposal prompts alarms over cuts to Medicaid, Head Start
By changing the poverty threshold calculation, thousands would no longer be eligible for Medicaid and food stamps

Staffers set up signs for Sen. Bernie Sanders' event to introduce the Medicare for All Act of 2017 on Sept. 13, 2017. The Trump administration may roll out a memo using an alternative way to calculate the poverty threshold, potentially cutting eligibility for programs like Medicaid, Medicare subsidies, food stamps, Head Start education for young children. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Experts are voicing alarm about a Trump administration plan to change how the federal poverty level is determined and potentially cut eligibility for programs like Medicaid, Medicare subsidies, food stamps, Head Start education for young children and low-income energy assistance.

The comment period for the Office of Management and Budget proposal closes Friday. Then the agency could roll out a memo that would use an alternative way to calculate the poverty threshold.

Trump’s 2020 re-election rally signals 2016 strategy may be used again
President used digs at Obama, Clinton to fire up supporters in key battleground of Florida

President Donald Trump concludes a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on May 20. It was one of his first events for his reelection campaign, which he formally kicked off Tuesday in Florida. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Donald Trump repeatedly railed against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as a friendly Florida crowd cheered and jeered. Only it wasn’t 2016 — it was just six days ago.

The president took a crowd of supporters in Orlando on a journey through time last Tuesday as he formally announced his re-election bid. He dropped his now-familiar attack lines that elicited chants of “Lock her up” for Clinton and boos for Obama.

Road ahead: House and Senate seek to pass dueling border funding bills
Defense policy, election security and spending also on the agenda ahead of July Fourth

From right, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, Vice Chairman Patrick J. Leahy and Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin huddle Wednesday before the committee marked up a border supplemental package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Leaders in the House and Senate want to approve spending at least $4 billion more to address the influx of migrants and their humanitarian needs at the U.S.-Mexico border before the July Fourth recess.

Bills in the two chambers differ, however, raising doubts about whether there will be a resolution on President Donald Trump’s desk this month. 

Working with the enemy? Biden was just doing his job
Give Joe Biden a break. Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez finds common ground with Ted Cruz

Yes, Joe Biden worked with segregationists to pass legislation. No, that doesn’t mean he was a monster, Murphy writes. It means he was a senator. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There’s a name for working with someone you can’t stand. It’s called “legislating.”

It used to happen all the time in Washington, and it still does, occasionally. But former Vice President Joe Biden became engulfed by progressive rage this week when he pointed to the late Sens. James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, two avowed segregationists, to describe the civility that Biden said he used to see on Capitol Hill.