Medicare

Photos of the day: State of the Union 2020
February 4 as captured by CQ Roll Call's photojournalists

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., reads the U.S. Constitution before President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in the House chamber on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The State of the Union came and went on Tuesday, and will soon be overtaken with news of the expected acquittal of President Donald Trump in the Senate on Wednesday. 

Amid some remarkable, and some small moments, CQ Roll Call's photojournalists were there. 

Cummings’ predecessor, Kweisi Mfume, wins Democratic nod in Maryland
Mfume last served in the House in 1996

Former Rep. Kweisi Mfume has won the Democratic nomination for Maryland’s 7th District, which has been vacant since Elijah E. Cummings died last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who last served in the House in 1996, has won the Democratic nomination for the seat vacated by his successor, the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings. Defeating 23 Democrats — including Cummings’ widow — he’s heavily favored to be the next member of Congress from the solidly Democratic Baltimore-area seat.

With nearly all the precincts reporting, Mfume had 43 percent of the vote. Cummings’ widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, was in second place with 17 percent, followed by state Sen. Jill Carter with 16 percent.

Liberal group endorses Democrats in competitive primaries
PCCC says its backing includes outreach to supporters seeking grassroots donations

Michigan Rep. Fred Upton’s district in Michigan is one of the Republican seats Democrats are seeking to capture this year. A liberal advocacy group endorsed one of the Democrats vying to unseat him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Five Democrats in competitive House primaries in four states were endorsed Friday by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group pushing for liberal policies including the Green New Deal and expansion of Medicare and Social Security. 

The group called the move a “show of progressive energy,” in a news release obtained by CQ Roll Call, and said its endorsements follow those by preferred presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. The Massachusetts senator earlier this week endorsed two of the PCCC-backed candidates, Mondaire Jones in New York’s 17th District and Candace Valenzuela in Texas’s 24th. A third, Georgette Gómez  in California’s 53rd, was endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren’s rival for the progressive mantle in the Democratic presidential primaries.

HHS cheers overdose drop but urges states to cap Medicaid
Administration proposes capped Medicaid funding in exchange for added flexibility

(Ian Wagreich/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House announced the first decline in overdose deaths since the earliest days of the opioid crisis and attributed it to administration actions, even as officials simultaneously said they would let states cap funding for Medicaid, a common way for patients to get treatment.

A 4 percent dip in the number of overdose deaths from 2017 to 2018 could indicate that the crest of the opioid crisis has passed, said White House senior aide Kellyanne Conway, who called the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data a “turning point.”

Fiscal crunch won't be immediate, budget scorekeeper says
Low interest rates mean Congress has more time to address growing federal deficits

CBO Director Phillip Swagel testifies before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The threat of rising federal deficits has a silver lining: low interest rates.

Those low rates, which make Treasury debt less costly, mean Congress has more time to address the nation’s fiscal challenges, the head of the Congressional Budget Office told lawmakers Wednesday.

Deficit widens, economic growth slows in new CBO outlook
Repeal of health care taxes the largest driver of 10-year deficit increase, according to projections

Under new Congressional Budget Office estimates, the federal deficit is projected to fall slightly to $1 trillion in fiscal 2021 and then commence a steady rise to $1.7 trillion in 2030. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Budget Office projects higher deficits for this year and the coming decade, with a fiscal 2020 deficit of $1.015 trillion — $8 billion higher than the agency estimated last August.

The fiscal 2019 deficit was $984 billion, by comparison.

House Democrats are making McConnell — not Trump — their new boogeyman
But presidential antics will inevitably trickle down to congressional races

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is increasingly being cast as a villain blocking Democratic legislation, especially by lawmakers running in districts won by President Donald Trump in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While Democrats in Washington are attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s management of the impeachment trial, it’s his role in blocking House-passed legislation that is getting the most campaign airtime so far this year.

The latest example, and a likely preview of what is to come, is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s announcement Monday of a seven-figure cable and online ad campaign focused on the Senate bottling up a bill intended to lower prescription drug prices.

Potential ballot confusion complicates California special election for Katie Hill’s seat
Voting starts Feb. 3, but there are two elections for the 25th District on the ballot

California Rep. Katie Hill resigned from Congress amid allegations of improper relationships with staffers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An unusual message will soon hit mailboxes and social media feeds in former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s Southern California district: “For once in your life, vote twice!”

The tagline will be featured in mailers and a digital media campaign from Assemblywoman Christy Smith, a Democrat running in the special election to replace Hill in the 25th District. The message underscores concerns that voters may be confused by multiple elections for the same office on the same day, March 3.

Campus Notebook: Sen. Bob Menendez spent over $5 million in legal fees associated with corruption scandal
Capitol Police arrested someone for assault with a broomstick

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has depleted and terminated his legal expense trust. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Millions in legal expenses for Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption scandal

The New Jersey Democrat spent $5.16 million on his defense, according to his legal expense fund filing with the Senate Office of Public Records. The trust was formed in 2014 at the beginning of Menendez’s legal woes. It allows people to make contributions to Menendez so he can fight his legal battles associated with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics inquiries and allegations of federal law violations associated with his role as a senator.

Repeal of Obamacare taxes stirs questions on durability of offsets
Democrats once touted law’s fiscal soundness. That’s getting harder to do

The repeal of three taxes levied under the 2010 health care law underscores how much easier it is for lawmakers to give the public a new benefit than it is to impose ways to pay for it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The repeal last month of three taxes levied under the 2010 health care law represents one of several ways Congress has chipped away over the years at provisions paying for it, but a left-leaning budget think tank calculates the law will still save money overall.

Democratic leaders have often highlighted the law’s offsets as an example of fiscal responsibility, noting that it expanded coverage to more than 20 million people while Congressional Budget Office estimates showed it still saved the federal government money. They contrasted that with a 2003 law to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare, which was not paid for.