policy

Urgency of marijuana policy was on full display Tuesday
Senate Banking hearing and bills unveiled give an early look at key 2020 issue

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., left, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., testified before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on marijuana and banking. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

“In short, the sky is not falling in Colorado.”

That is how Republican Sen. Cory Gardner summed up his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday morning, where he was advocating for legislative action to give legal marijuana businesses access to banks and protection for banks from being viewed as money-launderers under federal law for handling their money.

Judge weighs New Hampshire work requirements for Medicaid
The requirements were delayed for an additional 120 days due to state outreach problems

Federal district court Judge James E. Boasberg heard oral arguments Tuesday regarding the Trump administration's approval of work requirements in relation to New Hampshire's Medicaid program. Boasberg will decide whether states can enforce 100-hour-a-month requirements. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A federal district court judge seemed skeptical during oral arguments Tuesday of whether the Trump administration’s approval of work requirements advances the mission of New Hampshire’s Medicaid program. The same judge ruled against two other state work requirements earlier this year.

The New Hampshire requirements, which could have resulted in thousands losing coverage in August, were delayed earlier this month for an additional 120 days due to state outreach problems in educating enrollees about the requirements.

9/11 victims bill heads to Trump‘s desk after clearing Senate
Final action on the measure came after months of emotional lobbying by ailing first responders and their families

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by at the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The Senate will be voting later today on HR 1327: Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate cleared a measure Tuesday that would extend a financial lifeline to thousands of victims suffering health problems from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

By the lopsided vote of 97-2, the Senate agreed to a House-passed bill that would effectively make permanent a special compensation fund for first responders and other victims of the 2001 attacks, while providing however much money is needed to pay all eligible claims filed by Oct. 1, 2090.

White House officials fan out to sell budget, debt limit pact
Fiscal hawks blast agreement: ‘Washington has all but abandoned economic sanity’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives to attend the Senate Republican Policy luncheon in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin visited Senate Republicans Tuesday to try to shore up support for the two-year spending caps and debt limit accord, amid bipartisan concern with tacking another $324 billion onto deficits — a figure that could more than quintuple when spread out over a decade.

Mnuchin sought to reassure Republicans at their weekly policy luncheon that President Donald Trump in fact supports the deal he reached Monday with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, according to Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby and others.

House Democrats apologize to India ambassador for Trump’s ‘amateurish’ claim about Kashmir
Trump claimed Indian prime minister asked him to mediate Kashmir dispute between his country and Pakistan

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., left, and Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., attend a committee markup in the Rayburn Building on May 17, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee spoke with India’s ambassador to the U.S., Harsh Shringla, on Monday to apologize for President Donald Trump’s claim that he was asked by the Indian prime minister to mediate the Kashmir territorial conflict between his country and Pakistan.

“Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that India consistently opposes third-party mediation [regarding] Kashmir,” Rep. Brad Sherman of California tweeted Monday. “Everyone knows [Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi] would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing,” he wrote.

USDA seeks to narrow eligibility for food stamps
Proposal looks to tighten eligibility for people who receive noncash benefits

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the draft rule will close a loophole that allows people with gross incomes above 130 percent of the poverty level to become eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and potentially qualify for food stamps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration will push ahead with a proposal to tighten food stamp eligibility for people who receive certain noncash benefits from a federal welfare program, a move that could end aid for up to 3 million people.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the draft rule published in Tuesday’s Federal Register will end what he and congressional Republicans say is a loophole that allows people with gross incomes above 130 percent of the poverty level to become eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and potentially qualify for food stamps through the program.

Finance drug price bill faces GOP resistance before markup
Proposals target Medicare drug prices

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, on Tuesday offered a details on a drug price bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday outlined a long-anticipated drug price bill, but a planned Thursday markup may not go smoothly because of Republican discontent with the measure.

The bill is meant to slow the growth of Medicare’s prescription drug spending, limit cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries, and make it easier for state Medicaid programs to pay for expensive treatments, according to a summary.

What counts as ‘foundational’ tech?
As Commerce gears up for export debate, definitions remain in dispute

An attendee participates in a augmented reality demonstration to show how lidar, or light detection and ranging, works during a briefing on autonomous vehicles in June. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

In the coming weeks, the Commerce Department plans to announce a notice seeking comments on how it should draw up export control rules for so-called foundational technologies, similar to an effort the agency launched in November 2018 for a category called “emerging” technologies.

The rules were mandated after Congress passed the 2019 defense authorization act calling on the Commerce Department to establish export controls on “emerging and foundational technologies” that are critical to U.S. national security. But tech companies, universities, and research labs across the country continue to be alarmed that overly broad export restrictions could ultimately hurt American technological superiority.

Antitrust is not regulation. It’s law enforcement
Lawmakers would do well to remember that antitrust is not for advancing social objectives

People calling for a crackdown on some of America’s most successful companies are ignoring the essential nature of antitrust, writes Sean Heather of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Antitrust for much of the last 20 years has been a quiet and sleepy conversation, left largely to practitioners and academics. But not anymore.

Antitrust has taken center stage on Capitol Hill as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demand greater oversight of the tech industry. But those calling for a crackdown on some of America’s most successful companies ignore the essential nature of antitrust: It is not a political weapon but a tool of law enforcement. Its purpose is to ensure market competition, not to protect competitors, advance partisan aims or usher in sweeping social reforms.

Trump administration to expand ‘fast-track’ deportations, strengthen ICE
Migration Policy Institute estimates that total number of immigrants subject to expedited removal could reach 300,000

The Defund Hate campaign holds a protest in the Russell Rotunda to honor immigrants who died in ICE and CBP detention. The Trump administration plans to 'fast-track' deportations, giving more power to ICE. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration is planning to dramatically expand “fast-track” deportations, making hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. vulnerable to removal without going through immigration court proceedings.

“The effect of that change will be to enhance national security and public safety — while reducing government costs — by facilitating prompt immigration determinations,” reads the new notice to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. It “will enable [the Department of Homeland Security] to address more effectively and efficiently the large volume of aliens who are present in the United States unlawfully.”