Renewal of Children’s Health Insurance: The House on Nov. 3 voted, 242-174, to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program through fiscal 2022 and other health programs including Community Health Centers through fiscal 2019. The bill’s 10-year cost of $18 billion would be paid for by offsets including cuts in Affordable Care Act preventive-care and wellness outlays and increases in Medicare premiums for the top 1 percent of taxpayers. A yes vote was to send HR 3922 to the Senate.
Medicare Cost Controls: The House on Nov. 2 voted, 307-111, to abolish a panel of outside experts created by the Affordable Care Act to provide Congress with proposals for controlling per capita Medicare costs. The board is barred from making recommendations that would ration care, change Medicare co-payment or deductible levels or raise premiums levels. A yes vote was to kill the Independent Payment Advisory Board. (HR 849)
Probe of Russian Election Meddling: The House on Nov. 2 blocked, 230-193, an attempt by Democrats to force floor debate on a bill (HR 356) now in committee that would create a bipartisan, independent commission for investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. A yes vote opposed floor debate on the Democratic-sponsored bill.
Forest Policies on Federal Land: The House on Nov. 1 passed, 232-188, a bill that would soften environmental laws to allow commercial logging to be used more widely as a tool for preventing wildfires on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service land. A yes vote was to pass HR 2936.
Arbitration v. Access to Courts: The House on Nov. 1 refused, 189-232, to strip HR 2936 (above) of a program under which lawsuits contesting U.S. Forest Service management practices would be resolved by mandatory arbitration rather than access to courts. A yes vote opposed the arbitration program.
Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation: The Senate on Oct. 29 confirmed, 55-43, University of Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett to sit on the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. A yes vote supported Barrett, 45, over Democratic objections to her conservative views on LGBT and women’s reproductive rights.
KEY VOTES AHEAD
The House will take up bills on hydropower licensing and small-business deregulation in the week of Nov. 6, while the Senate will vote on judicial nominations.