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Happy Tuesday morning.
The one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade is this Saturday. Immediately after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision eliminated a constitutional right to abortion, several states rushed to enact tougher restrictions or outright bans.
Fourteen states now ban most abortions and several others have significantly limited access to the procedure. Other states have seen their bans temporarily blocked by the courts while Democratic-leaning states have moved to expand access and codify Roe. Meanwhile, a common abortion pill, mifepristone, could be banned pending federal court action.
The ramifications of the Dobbs decision will be felt for years to come, reaching nearly every aspect of Americans’ lives.
That is also true both in the 2024 presidential race and on Capitol Hill, where the politics of abortion access continues to be a dominant issue. As we’ve reported, the issue is at the center of a GOP-led blockade of senior military promotions.
Democrats made abortion access a centerpiece of the 2022 campaign, using it as the most potent example of what they deemed as Republicans’ extremism. The strategy worked: Democrats were able to hold onto the Senate and significantly limit GOP gains in the House.
With both the House and the Senate on the line next year, Democrats will once again make abortion access a cornerstone of their 2024 playbook.
Senate Democrats are expected to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision this week with a series of unanimous-consent requests on the Senate floor.
Led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Democratic senators on Wednesday will try to UC bills that codify the right to contraception, allow women to travel across state lines to get an abortion, legally shield doctors who perform abortions for out-of-state patients and safeguard data privacy.
While each is almost certain to fail, the effort amounts to a messaging offensive on what Democrats see as a winning issue. And it will force Republicans to head to the floor and object.
“As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ripping away a woman’s right to an abortion, Senate Democrats will make plain to the American people the devastating consequences and chaos that decision has inflicted on millions of women in this country,” Murray said.
In the House, Democrats will file a discharge petition to try to force a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify the right to an abortion.
Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who co-chair the Pro-Choice Caucus, and Judy Chu (D-Calif.), who has introduced the bill since 2013, are leading the effort.
Nearly every House Democrat is a co-sponsor of the bill, except for Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who has backed abortion restrictions.
Democrats would need 218 signatures to force a vote on the bill, including six to eight Republicans. Of course, they’re unlikely to get this — no Republicans backed the bill when the House voted on it last Congress.
Still, there are significant differences within the House GOP Conference about how to approach the issue. The House was expected to take up a bill this session that would permanently bar the use of federal funds for abortion — a policy commonly known as the Hyde Amendment that is already included in annual appropriations bills.
Republican leaders didn’t end up bringing the bill to the floor after moderate members pushed back behind the scenes.
But for Democrats, their actions this week are just one part of a months-long pressure campaign designed to keep Republicans on defense when it comes to women’s health care, as they look to take back the House and hold the Senate.
One more thing: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will give a major speech at CSIS Wednesday on artificial intelligence. Schumer will outline what he sees as the Senate’s framework for an upcoming legislative effort on AI. He’s already partnered with GOP Sens. Todd Young of Indiana and Mike Rounds of South Dakota — along with Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) — to roll out a series of AI-centric briefings for senators this summer.
— Heather Caygle and Andrew Desiderio
PRESENTED BY THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
Why Is Medicare Access Only Restricted for Alzheimer’s?
Breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research have led to new FDA-approved treatments. But, for the first time ever, CMS blocked Medicare coverage to these treatments costing patients with a terminal disease time they will never get back. Now CMS insists on imposing unprecedented, unclear and unnecessary restrictions for coverage that are not required for any other FDA-approved drug. Medicare must be fair to those with Alzheimer’s.
Child tax credit gets spark of life as GOP spots a ‘bargaining chip’
A pandemic-era tax benefit that’s credited with briefly cutting the American poverty rate by as much as 40% is back on the docket.
Let’s be clear from the start: the revival of the expanded child tax credit is a longshot. But just as House Republicans have mobilized around an ambitious package of tax cuts, Senate Democrats introduced a package of their own that would make pandemic-era changes to the child tax credit permanent.
Those expansions expired at the end of 2021 and reverted to pre-pandemic levels.
Tax policy is one area where Democrats and Republicans fundamentally disagree with virtually no middle ground. But if you really, really squint, you might be able to see the makings of a grand compromise. If the GOP is serious about getting their business-friendly tax policy passed, the journey could start with the child tax credit.
“I think Republicans want to consider it as part of a compromise for the Democrats,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told us. “We know that that’s like one of their top issues. This may be a bargaining chip that we can use.”
There’s long been tentative interest from some Republicans around the thrust of the child tax credit, which in its expanded form delivered direct monthly payments of up to $300 per child via the American Rescue Plan.
It’s not just moderate Republicans who supported the policy, either. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) told us it was “one of the few issues of tax policy where you have some bipartisan agreement.”
But the expanded program’s costs make other Republicans shudder, including some who have otherwise been open to the reform. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the ARP’s version of the child tax credit would cost roughly $105 billion a year if permanently extended.
“If it’s properly constructed and properly sized, you’ll find some interest on the Republican side in negotiating a tax package,” Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) said.
Expanding the child tax credit has sometimes been floated as one way to help gather legislative support for another tax exemption strongly favored by corporate America that was severely weakened thanks to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — the research and development tax credit.
“I hollered at great length when Republicans threw that out the window in their 2017 tax bill,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told us, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. “And certainly, there are a host of domestic needs that give everybody a chance to get ahead. There’s an opportunity for a balanced bill, and it’s got to be proportionate.”
But there’s always been a disconnect there when it comes to the child tax credit, which is “many orders of magnitude larger than the R&D provision,” Young told us.
Then again, the tax reforms being pushed by House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) represent hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars, in cuts over the next 10 years. So there’s some political wiggle room here.
Don’t underestimate general resistance from Republicans to the child tax credit. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C) told us it was one thing to support this kind of federal assistance during the pandemic, but “those times are gone.”
“I want to see what their new rationalization is,” Tillis said. “Let’s not use the tax code as a sort of artificial way to get a fully refundable rebate. I just don’t think that’s the right way to do it.”
Democrats aren’t exactly optimistic, either. We asked one of the expanded child tax credit’s most ardent champions — Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) — about the odds of a compromise in the reform’s favor.
“I don’t really know,” Bennet said. “I have heard some Republican colleagues talk about the bipartisan history of this legislation. I hope we will be able to find a way to negotiate a bipartisan solution.”
But hope springs eternal in the House. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) told us he would use his seat on the Ways and Means panel to push for the reform through the rest of the session.
“This issue is not dead,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s going to be a live, open issue for this entire cycle, because you have people like me on the committee who actually do support it.”
— Brendan Pedersen
Republicans fall in line behind revised Schiff censure
Scores of Republicans who voted against Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s (R-Fla.) resolution censuring Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) are now pledging to support Luna’s revised resolution this week.
A controversial portion of Luna’s resolution — the vow to fine Schiff $16 million if the House Ethics Committee found he made “misrepresentations and abused sensitive information” — has been taken out of the resolution. This change, some Republicans told us, is behind them changing their minds.
Remember: The House voted 225-196 last week to table Luna’s resolution. Twenty Republicans joined with all Democrats to reject the anti-Schiff proposal.
We reached out to the offices of the other GOP lawmakers who voted against the Schiff censure last Wednesday. Here’s who confirmed to us they’re going to support the new resolution: Reps. David Valadao (Calif.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Kelly Armstrong (N.D.), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (Ore.), Steve Womack (Ark.), Juan Ciscomani (Ariz.), Jay Obernolte (Calif.) and Young Kim (Calif.).
Asked why he changed his position on the censure, Armstrong told us “$16 million things.”
Obernolte said he worked with Luna on addressing “constitutional concerns” with the original resolution related to the same issue.
Ciscomani released a strong statement attacking Schiff, after reasserting his support for the new version.
“Schiff’s behavior has been irresponsible, dangerous and damaging to our country. It is critical that the legislation to hold him accountable be constitutionally sound in order to avoid any games some will inevitably try to play,” Ciscomani said.
Democrats plan to offer another motion to table the resolution. They’re banking on needing about seven Republicans to stick with them as a cushion for any Democratic absences, according to senior aides. Democrats are less hopeful they can defeat the censure resolution this time, but they aren’t ruling it out.
— Max Cohen, Mica Soellner and Heather Caygle
PRESENTED BY THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
CMS is planning burdensome restrictions of Alzheimer’s treatments, only providing coverage through an unexplained registry — something Medicare has never before done for an FDA-approved drug.
News: Elect Democratic Women, a member-led campaign committee dedicated to electing female politicians, is endorsing Sabina Matos in the Democratic primary for Rhode Island’s 1st District.
Matos currently serves as Rhode Island’s lieutenant governor and is one of a plethora of Democrats running in the primary to succeed former Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who retired on June 1. The primary for the special election to fill the seat is on Sept. 5 and the general election is Nov. 7.
The endorsement from the group is a major sign of institutional Democratic support for Matos. Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) chairs Elect Democratic Women. And five other House Democrats — Reps. Joyce Beatty (Ohio), Julia Brownley (Calif.), Chrissy Houlahan (Pa.), Annie Kuster (N.H.) and Norma Torres (Calif.) — sit on the committee’s executive board.
— Max Cohen
THE MONEY GAME
Congress is in town this week — so we have quite the lineup of events for you. All of these events are today!
Hungry for breakfast? Who isn’t. Rep. Andrea Salinas (D-Ore.) has a breakfast at Paraiso this morning for between $500 and $2,500.
Are you interested in the First State’s likely next senator? Have lunch with Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) today at noon at Harvest Tide.
How about the Ways and Means Committee? Are you hunkering for a conversation about tax and trade? Have lunch with Rep. Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) at Joe’s today. Want a double dose of Morelle? Head to Nationals Park with him tonight for the game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Pricetag: a cool $2,500.
— Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
Why is Medicare access only restricted for Alzheimer’s drugs?
All times eastern
1 p.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing.
3 p.m.: Biden will discuss “his Administration’s commitment to seizing the opportunities and managing the risks of Artificial Intelligence” in San Francisco.
5:15 p.m.: House Intelligence Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) will hold a news conference after meeting with John Durham in the SCIF.
5:30 p.m.: Biden will leave San Francisco for Larkspur, Calif. He will attend a fundraiser in nearby Kentfield, Calif.
8:35 p.m.: Biden will leave Larkspur.
10 p.m.: Biden will speak at a fundraiser in San Francisco.
Biden’s week: Wednesday: Biden will return to the White House from California. The Bidens will also welcome India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the White House and host him for dinner.
Thursday: The Bidens will host Modi for an official state visit.
Saturday: Biden will travel to Camp David.
“DeSantis Raises Cash in California and Pokes at Governor,” by Shawn Hubler in Sacramento, Calif.
“As Modi visits White House, India’s reliance on Russian arms constrains him,” by Karishma Mehrotra in New Delhi
“US Lawmakers to Press Auto CEOs Over China Supply Chains,” by Daniel Flatley
“India’s Modi Sees Unprecedented Trust With U.S., Touts New Delhi’s Leadership Role,” by Rajesh Roy, Brendan Moran and Gordon Fairclough in New Delhi
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
PRESENTED BY THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
Are Continued Restrictions for FDA-approved Alzheimer’s Treatments the Future of Medicare?
For people living with Alzheimer’s, Medicare hasn’t been the “rock solid guarantee” President Biden has promised. For more than a year, CMS has blocked Medicare coverage to FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments costing patients with a terminal disease time they will never get back. Now the agency is planning to continue unprecedented restrictions, saying they’ll provide coverage only through a registry — something Medicare has never before done for an FDA-approved drug. Yet with a deadline only weeks away, CMS has yet to explain the barriers patients will face or the steps doctors must take to prepare to deliver long-delayed treatment. Each day is crucial to someone living with early stage Alzheimer’s when it comes to slowing the progression of this disease. Medicare must do better for beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s.
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