|Sep. 14, 2015|
The House and Senate returned for a fall session with a number of items requiring their attention. Both houses took action to undue the P5+1 (UN Security Council's five permanent members (the P5): China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; plus Germany) nuclear agreement. The House changed course midway through the week and rather than holding one up or down vote opposing the agreement, they voted three times:
In a shortened week due to the observation of Rosh Hashanah, the House is scheduled to turn its attention to Planned Parenthood. With the Sept. 30 deadline approaching, and few legislative days to keep the government open, the House will vote on Rep. Diane Black's (R-Tenn.) bill to freeze federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year while Congress conducts an investigation into the organization's activities.
A second bill slated for a House vote would add criminal penalties for violations of the 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which offers legal protections to infants born alive after a failed abortion attempt.
The Senate is expected to take up the Iran resolution once again, which is not expected to get the 60 votes need to advance. More
Item of Interest
Last week, more than 35 small business owners from WIT & Co., descended on Capitol Hill to meet with their elected leaders on issues important to our industry and small businesses. One of those issues is a little-known item tucked deep inside the Affordable Care Act. The provision will redefine what qualifies as a small business and in 2016 will be defining businesses with 51-100 employees as a small business, as it pertains to healthcare. What that means is those companies that today can purchase insurance in the "large group" market, where more options and flexibility exist, will be redefined and will have to purchase their insurance through the "small group" market.
Legislation that members of WIT and ASA have pushed Congress to take up, will be taken up on Wednesday. It would continue allowing the states to define small businesses as they see fit, since they're more aware of the health insurance market in their states. We're told that H.R. 1624 will be taken up on the suspension calendar this week, a process meaning that the legislation cannot be amended on the floor, and requires passage with a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This is only done for legislation that has wide support from both sides of the aisle and is noncontroversial. See our efforts here.More
Prospect of Shutdown Grows
The prospect of a second government shutdown in two years is growing as House conservatives pledge to oppose any funding measure that includes money for Planned Parenthood. GOP leaders face a familiar problem. A measure that blocks funding for Planned Parenthood would almost certainly lack the votes to pass the Senate, and would be vetoed by President Obama. But Republicans in the House don't have enough GOP votes to approve a funding measure that continues funding for Planned Parenthood, and don't want to negotiate with Democrats. More
Judge: House GOP Can Pursue Obamacare Lawsuit
House Republicans have won a major victory in the latest legal battle over Obamacare. A federal judge in Washington said the GOP has legal standing to sue the administration over its implementation of a particular Obamacare program — a lawsuit that threatens billions of dollars in health care subsidies, while aiming to validate Republicans' complaints that President Barack Obama has usurped too much power.More
Iran Opponents Plot Round 2
Opponents of the nuclear deal with Iran may have lost round one, but they're not giving up the fight yet. After this week's failure of legislation to kill the agreement outright, GOP lawmakers in both chambers are plotting additional attacks to either undercut the deal or force Democrats to cast the same vote all over again. "This debate is far from over and, frankly, it's just beginning," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pledged.More
The Pope vs. America
Pope Francis has been brushing up on his English ahead of his arrival in Washington in September, and tickets to his U.S. events are already a hot commodity. But anyone expecting his message to be simply one of mercy and love could be in for a distinct surprise. In his speech to a joint meeting of Congress, the pope of the poor could well deliver a harsh message for the world's richest nation. For all the genuine warmth of his smile, his track record suggests he sees it as his job not just to comfort the afflicted, but also to afflict the comfortable.More