Fox on the HillJune 20, 2016 – Newsletters
This past week marked the end of the Presidential Primaries. Hillary Clinton won the last Democratic Primary in Washington, DC, bringing her delegate count to 2,806. Bernie Sanders has committed to working with Hillary Clinton to shape the Democratic Party. His ability to rally traditional liberals who feel disenfranchised by the Democratic Party may play heavily in down ticket contests in the general election against Donald Trump.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has begun the rollout of the six-part House GOP’s “Confident America” agenda. The rollout follows meetings that took place between GOP Presidential Nominee Donald Trump and Members of House Republican Leadership and is expected to influence the party’s national platform in July. Expect the tax reform and health care portions of the GOP agenda to be released this week by the Speaker.
- A strategy for Combating Poverty was released on Monday, June 6, focused on restoring upward mobility.
- The National Security Platform was on the agenda at the Council on Foreign Relations meeting on Thursday, June 9, advancing ideas to secure America and build a 21st-century military prepared to defeat ISIS.
- Reigning in Presidential power by restoring separation of powers and protecting the constitution.
- House GOP members introduced their “Better Way,” a plan to replace the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The plan significantly reforms the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by installing an agency inspector general, replacing the director position with a five-member bipartisan commission and subjecting the agency to the congressional appropriations process.
The Senate is expected to vote on the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations this week, while the House is expected to vote on the Financial Services Appropriations.
The two chambers are continuing their conference on the Zika Funding and Military-Construction-Veterans Affairs package. The House could vote on this as early as this week.
The Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Senate Appropriations Subcommittee voted to move forward its 2017 bill that appropriates funds for agencies, including the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The bill reduces the EPA’s funding and prohibits the Waters of the United States rule.
The House Appropriations Committee also moved forwarded its Interior and Environment Appropriations.
The House passed the Defense Appropriations for FY 2017. The bill appropriates $575.7 billion in discretionary defense spending, including $517.1 billion subject to spending caps for FY 2017 and $58.6 billion in uncapped Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.
A federal appeals court upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules in a landmark victory for open internet advocates.
The Federal Reserve, led by Chair Janet Yellen, announced that it will not raise interest rates. This is the second time this year that the Fed is lowering its expectations for U.S. economic growth. It was expected that the Fed would increase rates at the June meeting, but the May jobs number showed growth of only 38,000 jobs, which was the worst monthly gain since 2010. The other major consideration was the upcoming Brexit vote. If the United Kingdom votes to leave the EU, it may trigger of uncertainty that could ripple through the global economy and markets.
Foreign Relations and ISIS
CIA Director John Brennan has warned that ISIS is working to grow its Western presence. Despite all of the United States’ efforts to stop ISIS financially and globally, it has not reduced its capabilities and global reach. During testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan said that the branch in Libya is likely the most advanced and most dangerous, and ISIS is continuing to work to advance its presence in Africa.
Following the nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12, the debate over gun policy has been reignited in Congress. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) led a 14-plus-hour filibuster calling for action on gun control. The standoff ended with Senate leaders agreeing to schedule votes on four gun control proposals, two Republican and two Democratic.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule before the end of June on whether a Texas state law that imposes restrictions on abortion doctors and clinic facilities violates a woman’s constitutional right to end her pregnancy as set by the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
Speaker Ryan (R-WI) is expected to release the GOP health care agenda this week. The plan is expected to focus on lowering costs, increasing competition and refocusing the health care system to be centered on patients.
The Affordable Care Act currently provides income-based subsides for consumers who buy individual policies on HealthCare.gov and state insurance markets. However, there is no subsidy for those making more than $47,520 for an individual or $97,200 for a family of four – cutoffs that represent four times the federal poverty level. There is also no subsidy for consumers at any income level who purchase outside of HealthCare.gov or a state marketplace.
Health care premiums are expected to rise in 2017 particularly because major insurers have incurred significant financial losses under the health law. The average increase is expected to be approximately 10 percent.