POLICY BRIEFINGS


House Dems Agree to Intervene in ACA Lawsuit


House Democrats plan to intervene, as a defendant, alongside a group of Democratic states, in the ongoing Affordable Care Act (ACA) lawsuit. The administration declined to defend the law in a case brought by 20 GOP-led states in which a Texas judge deemed the ACA unconstitutional. The House has scheduled a vote for Wednesday on a motion to intervene in the lawsuit to formally place Republicans on the record in opposition to the law and its protections for people with preexisting conditions. The resolution will be introduced by freshman Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas). The chamber had previously agreed to involve House counsel in the case as a part of the passage of a larger package of rules for the 116th Congress.

A coalition of 16 Democratic states and the District of Columbia, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, officially began the appeals process to defend the law by filing a formal notice to appeal on Thursday. Texas Judge Reed O’Connor ordered that despite his ruling, the health law remain fully intact while the case undergoes appeal to avoid “great uncertainty” for Americans covered under the ACA.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) announced plans for his panel to hold a hearing later this month on the effects of the ACA ruling as a part of a broader effort by the Committee to examine the administration’s handling of the 2010 health care law. This will be one of the first three hearings held by the committee in the 116th Congress.


Pelosi Elected Speaker of the House for 116th Congress


Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was elected Speaker of the House in a 220-192 vote on Thursday. This will be Pelosi’s second term with the Speaker’s gavel; she is the only woman to have ever held the post. She agreed to limit her new speakership to a maximum of four years in a deal that secured her the support of some members within her own caucus. Twelve Democrats voted for candidates other than Pelosi, and three Democrats voted present. All but six Republicans voted for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Pelosi promised to lower health care and prescription drug costs and to protect people with preexisting conditions in her remarks after being sworn in as Speaker. She also stated last week that replacing the ACA’s individual mandate and raising the income level for insurance subsidy eligibility will be two of her top priorities this congress. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) will continue to serve as Pelosi’s deputies, with Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) serving as McCarthy’s Minority Whip.


House Approves Democratic Rules Package


The House approved a Democratic rules package by a vote of 234-197 on Thursday. Three Republicans, Reps. Tom Reed (N.Y.), John Katko (N.Y.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), voted for the package. Three Democrats, Reps. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) voted against it. Khanna and Ocasio-Cortez expressed opposition to the inclusion of a pay-as-you-go provision, which requires a point of order against any bill that raises the deficit but is able to be waived. The package includes legislative-process reforms and would require bills to be publicly available for 72 hours before a House vote.


House to Hold First Hearings on Medicare for All


At least three House committees will hold hearings on “Medicare for All” this year, starting with the Rules and Budget panels, according to the head of the Medicare for All Caucus Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) also announced that his committee will hold a hearing on the single-payer health care system proposal this year, and Jayapal is soliciting the support of Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) for scheduling a hearing. Speaker Pelosi has expressed support for hearings on the issue. The hearings will focus on the Medicare for All policy itself, rather than the financing of the idea. Jayapal hopes to release draft legislation in the coming weeks but will wait to formally introduce a bill until she has built support for it. The draft will not include a pay-for.



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SERVICES




BRIEFING ARCHIVE


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