Congress

North Florida Congressman Al Lawson (D-FL 5) is co-sponsoring the Save Our Streets (SOS)  Act to give small businesses and nonprofits up to $250,000 to help them deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida would get billions of dollars for coronavirus relief through the latest federal aid package proposed by the House, known as the "HEROES Act."


House Democrats plan to move forward with a $3 trillion bill for additional coronavirus relief, following up on the historic $2 trillion aid package passed in March.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had sharp words for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, during Tuesday's Senate committee hearing on the coronavirus.

In arguing for reopening the economy and schools, Paul said, "As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don't think you're the end-all. I don't think you're the one person who gets to make a decision."

Paul pointed to the mortality rate in New York City of young people up to age 18, which he said was near zero — much lower than for older people.

Updated at 12:21 p.m. on May 2

The White House will not allow the leading immunologist on the coronavirus task force to testify to Congress next week, calling the request "counter-productive" to the administration's efforts to contain the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci's testimony had been requested by the House Appropriations Committee, as part of an investigation into the White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A committee spokesman on Friday said the White House had blocked the doctor from appearing before the panel.

In the early 1990s, two dozen House lawmakers pitched an idea of voting electronically. The proposal didn't get very far.

Now, as the coronavirus threat grows, one of original sponsors of that measure is trying again.

"At the time we didn't have ... the electronic communications we have today to safely vote remotely," said Ohio Republican Rob Portman, who is now a senator. "Now we do."

Portman is co-sponsoring a resolution with Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois to allow remote voting.

And Portman has a lot more company this time.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET Tuesday

Reps. Mark Meadows, Doug Collins, and Matt Gaetz said Monday that they are self-quarantining after learning they came in contact with a person infected with coronavirus while attending a conservative conference in the Washington area last month.

The Trump administration has dropped one of the meatiest portions of its plan to reduce drug prices.

The Department of Health and Human Services said it will no longer pursue a rule that would have prohibited the payment of certain rebates on drugs in Medicare Part D and Medicaid plans.

The idea was to target the middlemen, pharmacy benefit managers, whose negotiations with drugmakers and insurers influence the costs consumers pay for drugs.

House Dems Announce Sweeping Investigation Of Drug Pricing

Jan 15, 2019

House Democrats announced a sweeping investigation Monday of the pharmaceutical industry's pricing practices, jockeying for the upper hand with the Trump administration on an issue that concerns Americans across the political spectrum.

Time has run out for a program that's provided funding to more than 180 natural areas in Florida.

Sunday, Sept. 30 was the deadline for Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Money from the fund is used to create and maintain city, county and state parks, marinas, protected forests and historic battlefields in Florida and across the country. The fund is supported by fees on offshore oil and gas drilling.

The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed legislation to address maritime safety issues raised by the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship in October 2015 that departed Jacksonville en route to Puerto Rico.

Florida is waiting on Congress to authorize two efforts that could help address algal blooms plaguing the state's coastal and inland waterways.

As Florida struggles with 'red tide' algae blooms on the west coast and blue-green algae in inland waterways, a federal program to help communities deal with harmful algae outbreaks is set to lose its Congressional authorization at the end of September.

Everglades advocates are telling Congress to get moving on a major restoration project needed to help prevent future algae blooms like the ones currently choking inland and coastal waterways in Florida. 

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

The House has overwhelmingly approved legislation designed to give health care providers more tools to stem an opioid crisis that is killing more than 115 people in the United States daily.

A reservoir project that could help address water challenges in the Everglades is one step closer to being built.

Congressional committees on Thursday approved a bill that, if passed, would authorize construction of a $1.4 billion water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir would help reduce water discharges from Lake Okeechobee that contribute to algae blooms on Florida’s coasts; it would also increase water flow south to Florida Bay.

Legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to get access to experimental drugs is headed to the president's desk.

The House on Tuesday passed a "right-to-try" bill that was approved by the Senate in 2017.

"People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to find a cure," said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, on the House floor Tuesday.

The bill, which President Trump is expected to sign, has patient advocates divided.

Congress Tackles The Opioid Epidemic. But How Much Will It Help?

Mar 20, 2018

The nation’s opioid epidemic has been called today’s version of the 1980s AIDS crisis.

The House overwhelmingly approved a bill to improve school safety Wednesday, the first gun-related action by Congress since the shooting that left 17 dead at a Florida high school.

It started as a bipartisan attempt to curb soaring health care premiums.

But Congress' effort to stabilize the nation's insurance markets is faltering amid escalating demands by each party and erratic positions by President Donald Trump. Democrats want bigger federal subsidies for consumers under President Barack Obama's health care law while Republicans, still fighting that statute, aim to relax its coverage requirements and win abortion restrictions.

Wikimedia Commons

A leading House Democrat announced his opposition Monday to a Republican bill making it easier for some terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs, clouding the measure's fate.

A bipartisan group of senators and House members has been working since last summer toward measures to keep prices from rising out of control and undermining the individual market—the market that serves people who don't get insurance through work or through the government. Members hope to attach a package of fixes to what should be the year's final temporary spending bill, due late this month.

WMFE

After a 10-day break, members of Congress are returning to work under hefty pressure to respond to the outcry over gun violence. But no plan appears ready to take off despite a long list of proposals, including many from President Donald Trump.

Bipartisan Senate Budget Deal Boosts Health Programs

Feb 8, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

In a rare show of bipartisanship for the mostly polarized 115th Congress, Republican and Democratic Senate leaders announced a two-year budget deal that would increase federal spending for defense as well as key domestic priorities, including many health programs.

Wikimedia Commons

Buoyed by the sudden likelihood of a budget pact, lawmakers are on track to avoid a repeat of last month's government shutdown — though President Donald Trump unexpectedly raised the possibility of closing things down again if he can't have his way on immigration.

With the clock ticking on the current stopgap bill that funds the federal government through Feb. 8, Congress is steeling itself to consider another must-pass budget bill.

Once again, health care could be caught in the crosshairs.

During previous debates over government funding, it was the high-profile Children's Health Insurance Program that went months without reauthorization and became a bargaining chip. A deal in January extended it for six years.

A brief, partial shutdown of the federal government ended Monday, as the Senate and House approved legislation that would keep federal dollars flowing until Feb. 8, as well as fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for the next six years.

Agency For Health Care Administration

The state is disputing a report that found funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program in Florida will run out in February if Congress doesn't act.

WMFE

Democrats are shifting to offense on health care, emboldened by successes in defending the Affordable Care Act. They say their goal is a government guarantee of affordable coverage for all.

Some states are facing a mid-January loss of funding for their Children's Health Insurance Program despite spending approved by Congress in late December that was expected to keep the program running for three months, federal health officials said Friday.

The $2.85 billion was supposed to fund states' CHIP programs through March 31. But some states will start running out of money after Jan. 19, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS did not say which states are likely to be affected first.

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