Current Legislative Update:

  • May 2015

    May 2015 » Education Congressional Members Create Caucus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC)…
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Legislative Updates

Keeping you up to date on policy action from the president's administration and the U.S. Congress.

May 2015

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» Education

Congressional Members Create Caucus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC) and Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) launched a bipartisan Congressional Caucus on HBCUs. The Caucus will focus on addressing the needs and challenges of HBCUs and their students, such as decreased financial aid and low graduation rates.

Read more:
Rep. Alma Adams & Rep Byrne to Launch First HBCU Caucus in Congress (Politic365)
Bipartisan Members of Congress Launch Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus (Rep. Alma Adams Press Release)

» Health and Human Services

Congress Extends Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Congress extended Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding for the next two years under the Medicare Access and Reauthorization Act (MACRA). CHIP provides health coverage for over seven million children up to age 19 in low-income families. Program funding would have ended in September 2015 without reauthorization from Congress. This same bill also repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and replaces it with a two-tiered system, which will dictate increases in doctor fees. The first is a 0.75 percent increase in doctor fees for doctors who join Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The second, Merit-Based Incentive Payment Systems (MIPS), is available for doctors who do not join ACOs, and will be focused on creating a singular merit-based incentive system from existing reporting programs.

Read more:
Congress Extends Children’s Health Insurance for 2 Years (Governing)
Obama Signs $200 Billion ‘Doc Fix’ Bill (The Hill)
Obama Signs SGR Repeal Legislation; Value-Based Payment Model Comes Into Full Force in 2019 (PolicyMed)

» Law, Justice, and Ethics

U.S. Senate Finally Confirms Loretta Lynch for U.S. Attorney General
After nearly five months of Congressional delay, Loretta Lynch was confirmed as U.S. Attorney General making her the first African American woman to hold the position in U.S. history. Much of the delay in her confirmation has been attributed to resistance among party lines. Attorney General Lynch has 21 months remaining to serve under President Barack Obama.

Read more:
Senate Confirms Loretta Lynch as Attorney General (NPR)
Loretta Lynch confirmed as US attorney general after delay ‘to spite Obama’ (The Guardian)

SCOTUS Rules Judicial Candidates Cannot Ask for Campaign Contributions
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that funding for judicial candidates can be restricted and that they cannot personally ask for campaign donations. The Court held that judicial candidates, even where there are elections are not politicians. Candidates can still have fundraising teams that solicit campaign contributions, however.

Read more:
Supreme Court Rules States Can Restrict Judicial Campaigning (Governing)
William-Yulee v. Florida Bar (Supreme Court Opinion)

What’s Happening on the Hill?

  • House Energy and Commerce: Oversight and Investigations, “What is the Federal Government Doing to Combat the Opioid Abuse Epidemic?” Fri, May 1, 2015 - 9 a.m. Location: RAYBURN HOB 2322
  • House Energy and Commerce: Health, “Examining Microbeads in Cosmetic Products (H.R. 1321: Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015), Fri, May 1, 2015 - 9:15 a.m. Location: RAYBURN HOB 2123
  • House Financial Services: “Oversight of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority,” May 1, 2015 - 9:15 a.m. Location: HVC-210 Capitol Visitor Center
  • House Judiciary: The Constitution and Civil Justice, H. J. Res. 45, the “Victims’ Rights Amendment,” Fri, May 1, 2015 - 9 a.m. Location: RAYBURN HOB 2141
  • House Oversight and Government Reform: Government Operations, “Is the Railroad Retirement Board Doing Enough to Protect Against Fraud?” Fri, May 1, 2015 - 9:30 a.m. Location: RAYBURN HOB 2154
  • House Science, Space, and Technology: Energy, “Innovations in Battery Storage for Renewable Energy,” Fri, May 1, 2015 - 9 a.m. Location: RAYBURN HOB 2318
  • House Veterans’ Affairs: “Assessing the Promise and Progress of the Choice Program,” Wed, May 13, 2015 - 10:30 a.m., Location: CANNON HOB 334
  • House Veterans’ Affairs: Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, Pending Legislation, Thu, May 14, 2015 - 2 p.m. Location: CANNON HOB 334
  • House Veterans’ Affairs: Health, “Overcoming Barriers to More Efficient and Effective VA Staffing,” Fri, May 15, 2015 - 9:45 a.m. Location: CANNON HOB 334
  • House Veterans’ Affairs: Health, Pending Legislation, Fri, May 15, 2015 - 9:45 a.m. Location: CANNON HOB 334
  • House Veterans’ Affairs, Legislative Presentation of Multiple Veterans Service Organizations: PVA, AMVETS, MOAA, MOPH, IAVA, VVA, BVA and NCOA Wed, May 20, 2015 - 10 a.m. Location: HSOB 216
  • Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry: Hearings to examine the U.S. Grain Standards Act. Tue, May 5, 2015 - 2:30 p.m. Location: SD-430
  • Senate Appropriations: Hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2016 for the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Tue, May 5, 2015 - 2:30 p.m. Location: SR-328A
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation: “Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security,” Tue, May 5, 2015 - 10 a.m. Location: SD-366
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources: Oversight hearings to examine the Federal government’s role in wildfire management, the impact of fires on communities, and potential improvements to be made in fire operations, Tue, May 5, 2015 - 10 a.m. Location: SD-406
  • Senate Environment and Public Works: Clean Air and Nuclear Safety: Hearings To Examine The Legal Implications Of The Clean Power Plan. Tue, May 5, 2015 - 10:30 a.m. Location: SD-138
  • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: Hearings to examine precision medicine for patients. Tue, May 5, 2015 - 2:30 p.m. Location: SR-418
  • Senate Veterans’ Affairs: Hearings to examine pending nominations, Thu, May 5, 2015 - 2:30 a.m. Location: SD-418
  • Senate Judiciary: Hearings to examine ensuring an informed citizenry, focusing on examining the Administration’s efforts to improve open government, Weds, May 6, 2015 – 9:30 a.m. Location: SD-226Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Hearings on various bills, Weds, May 6, 2015 – 10:00 a.m. Location: SD-342
  • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: Hearings to examine reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, focusing on the role of consumer information in college choice, Weds, May 6, 2015 – 10:00 a.m. Location: SD-430
  • Senate Appropriations: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, Hearings to examine proposed budget estimates for fiscal year 2016 for the Department of Justice, Thurs, May 7, 2015 – 10:30 a.m. Location: SD-192
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources: Hearings to examine S. 883: American Mineral Security Act of 2015, Tue, May 12, 2015 - 10 a.m. Location: SD-366