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February 11, 2016

Posts in "Fred Upton"

December 22, 2015

The ‘Concussion’ Effect? Congress to Probe Head Injuries

Roger Clemens, former MLB pitcher, arrives at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on steroid use in baseball.  Brian McNamee, former personal trainer to Clemens, and Charlie Scheeler, member former Sen. George Mitchell's report on performance enhancing drugs in baseball,  also testified.

Clemens testified about steroid use in Major League Baseball in 2008, and spent years waging a legal battle over that testimony. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Concussion,” the eagerly awaited feature film about a doctor who takes on the NFL to warn about the neurological dangers of America’s most popular sport, will be released on Christmas Day.

The Oscar-bait movie, starring Will Smith as Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who diagnosed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is being released just three days after the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced it would initiate a wide-ranging investigation into concussions when Congress returns in January. Full story

November 17, 2015

GOP Moves Forward With Sweeping Steering Panel Changes

steering committee

Ryan is ready to see his own influence diluted on the Steering Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are moving forward with an ambitious and far-reaching plan to overhaul the membership and operation of the Steering Committee, with a vote expected Thursday.

It’s only the first in a series of changes to GOP operations that Paul D. Ryan promised upon his election as speaker. Full story

March 30, 2015

CODELs: Boehner to Israel, McCarthy to Tunisia, Pelosi to Asia

McCarthy, R-Calif., participates in the press conference announcing House GOP leadership for upcoming session of Congress on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

McCarthy and his delegation were in Tunisia before heading to Ukraine. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not everybody gets to travel overseas during the two-week House recess  just ask Louie Gohmert.

However, many of those lawmakers who are participating in high-profile congressional delegations, or CODELs, will come back to Capitol Hill armed with new insights into some of the biggest policy issues facing Congress this year. Full story

January 8, 2015

‘Main Street’ Republicans Detail Policy Agenda

Upton's first challenge will be approving the Keystone XL pipeline. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Upton laid out his policy agenda Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While some conservative members of the Republican Party caused a stir during the speaker election this week, other members of the party appeared eager to move on and start governing, laying out their policy priorities Thursday.

Four members of the GOP spoke at a Capitol Hill Club event hosted by the Republican Main Street Partnership Thursday morning, explaining their agenda for energy, trade and education policies, and their goal of broadening the Republican base to attract more women. Full story

November 10, 2014

‘Net Neutrality’ Is Latest Obama Overreach, GOP Says

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 26: Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speaks with reporters as he leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the basement of the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Issa and other Republicans are calling “net neutrality” another example of presidential overreach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After consistently accusing President Barack Obama of overstepping his executive authority on issues such as immigration, health care and the environment, Republicans ramped up their rhetoric on another front: the Internet.

The GOP criticism came after the White House released a statement Monday morning — complete with a YouTube video — affirming the president’s support for the concept of net neutrality, the principle that all data on the Internet should be treated equally and that Internet service providers should not be able to charge more for faster access to some sites.

That principle has the support of voters — at least among the minority who actually know what net neutrality means — and it’s a contrast with Republicans that Democrats and the White House have been eager to embrace.

Still, Republicans argue net neutrality amounts to a massive federal takeover of a huge sector of the economy — in this case, the Internet — a la the Affordable Care Act.

Full story

June 11, 2014

Cantor Quake Sets Off GOP Leadership Fights

House Republicans quickly sloughed off the shock of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat and were immediately thrust into a weeklong, all-out sprint for power.

Next Thursday’s vote for new leadership will have ripple effects that touch every aspect of House policymaking, messaging and scheduling.

Republicans are hoping for a quick transition, counting on the chaos of this week’s unexpected primary results to give way to unity and a new leadership team. Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio called on his conference to come together, even as internal elections are sure to tear them apart for the next week.

“This is the time for unity; the time for focus — focus on the thing we all know to be true: The failure of Barack Obama’s policies and our obligation to show the American people we offer them not just a viable alternative, but a better future,” he told his conference in a private meeting Wednesday night. Full story

May 30, 2014

House Marijuana Votes Earn Backing of Rare Bipartisan Coalition (Video)

UNITED STATES -Sept 12: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA., hams it up for the camera as Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist look on before the start of a news conference on the "fair taxation of marijuana businesses." on September 12, 2013.  (Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Rohrabacher helped steer the medical marijuana amendment through the House. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a series of late-night votes that marijuana-rights advocates say reflect a nation’s changing attitudes, the Republican-controlled House moved early Friday  to block the federal government from interfering with state laws on pot and hemp.

The most far-reaching of the votes — a measure to cut funds for Drug Enforcement Agency raids on medical marijuana operations — passed 219-189 on the strength of an unusual coalition that cut across traditional partisan lines.

The medical marijuana measure was offered by conservative Republican Dana Rohrabacher of California as an amendment to the fiscal 2015 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill. 

There were 49 Republicans who voted “yes” on the medical marijuana amendment, jointly sponsored by Rohrabacher; Sam Farr, D-Calif.; Don Young, R-Alaska; Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.; Tom McClintock, R-Calif.; Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; Paul Broun, R-Ga.; Jared Polis, D-Colo.; Steve Stockman, R-Texas; Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; Justin Amash, R-Mich.; and Dina Titus, D-Nev. Full story

December 30, 2013

The House Year in Review

This year, doing the business of the People’s House was, at best, a struggle. It’s well-known that 2013 was, legislatively, the least productive session in congressional history. Leaders strained to get to 218 — a majority in the 435-seat House (in case you had no idea where the blog name came from). And there were some pretty notable news stories as a result of all this congressional dysfunction.

But as painful as the year was for members, covering the House was a pleasure, one which we here at 218 only had the honor of doing for about half the year.

In that short time, 218 — or “Goppers,” as we were formerly known, which rhymes with “Whoppers,” for all you still wondering about that — had more than a few favorite stories.

Among the labors of love, there was a piece about the 10 Republicans who could one day be speaker, a story on an internal August playbook that went out to House Republicans telling them to profess how they were fighting Washington, and a piece (in response to his “calves the size of cantaloupes” comment) asking the question: How do you solve a problem like Steve King? Full story

November 15, 2013

Obamacare Website Was ‘in Jeopardy’ in July, Emails Reveal

Upton released internal Obama administration emails Friday showing officials were concerned about's ability to work.  (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Upton released internal Obama administration emails Friday showing officials were concerned about’s functionality. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday released a string of administration emails regarding the construction of that provide insight as to why the health care website is so troubled.

In the internal email chains with officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, administration officials express serious concerns regarding having an insufficient number of web developers and insufficient money and time to complete the project.

“Administration officials looked us in the eye and told us everything was ‘on track’ but when we pull back the curtain now, the mess is disturbing,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton said in a statement. “What reason do the American people have to believe that the administration is capable of meeting its November 30 goal for fixing or its January 1 promise to deliver health care to Americans across the country?”

The Michigan Republican said the “botched rollout has created a serious question of competence and trust in the administration.”

Those questions might not be helped by the emails turned over to the committee.

Full story

House Passes Upton’s ‘If You Like It’ Obamacare Fix

A Republican proposal by Upton, second from right, to allow insurers to keep offering old insurance plans for another year passed the House on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican proposal by Upton, second from right, to allow insurers to keep offering old insurance plans for another year passed the House on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House easily passed Republican legislation on Friday allowing insurers to keep offering old insurance plans for another year in response to President Barack Obama’s broken “if you like it, you can keep it” promise.

The bill passed 261-157 with all but four Republicans joined by 39 Democrats backing the bill sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. Those Democrats defected despite strong opposition from their party leadership and President Barack Obama, who, hours after the White House announced an administrative fix Thursday, vowed he would veto the Upton bill. Full story

November 13, 2013

House Democrats’ Frustration With Obamacare Rollout Reaches Fever Pitch

House Democrats emerged from a closed-door caucus meeting Wednesday morning worn thin from arguing with White House officials over the bumpy rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

One source in the room described Democratic lawmakers from across the political spectrum — from moderates in vulnerable districts to progressives in safe seats — as frustrated with the administration in equal measure.

They pushed David Simas, the White House deputy senior adviser for communications and strategy, to account for the glitches on the enrollment website and for President Barack Obama’s unfulfilled promise to Americans that if they liked their health insurance policies, they could keep them, regardless of what changes would be ushered in by the new health care law.

“I think in diplomatic terms we had a frank discussion,” Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., said. “I think there was a lot of frustration and in some cases anger vented towards the White House for their continued ham-fisted approach. It’s not just their credibility that’s on the line, but it’s our credibility.”

“Why can’t we call people who know how to do these things, who do it for corporate America, and say, ‘We have a website, fix it,'” said Rep. José E. Serrano, D-N.Y. “Maybe I’m being simplistic, but can’t we call Bill Gates up and say, ‘Take care of this?’ Or go to a college dorm and say, ‘You guys, you invented Yahoo, can you take care of this?’ Full story

November 12, 2013

Democratic Leaders Will Oppose Upton’s Obamacare Bill

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Democratic leadership team is united in opposition to a bill that would block the cancellation of health insurance policies that don’t comport with the stricter standards of Obamacare.

That doesn’t mean there won’t still be defections within the rank and file, but it is significant that the most senior House Democrats plan to stand together to fight the legislation.

On Tuesday afternoon, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters at his weekly pen and pad briefing that he was “not closed” to the possibility of voting for the bill sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.

After all, Hoyer said, President Barack Obama should have had more “precision” when he told the American people that if they liked their health insurance, they could keep it under the new health law — a promise that has not been entirely fulfilled as the Obamacare rollout continues.

But hours later, Hoyer was ready to say he would, without question, oppose the bill. Full story

Hoyer ‘Not Closed’ to Voting for Upton Obamacare Bill

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and an aide make their way to his weekly pen and pad briefing in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Just minutes before the White House slammed a House GOP bill aimed at President Barack Obama’s “if you like it, you can keep it” promise regarding health care plans, the No. 2 House Democrat said he was open to supporting the proposed change to the Affordable Care Act.

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer’s willingness to consider voting for the bill, scheduled for floor consideration on Friday, underscores the difficulty many Democrats face in wanting to deal with the dust-up over health insurance policy cancellations while still supporting the president.

“I don’t know what I’m gonna do on the Upton bill,” the Maryland Democrat said at a Tuesday briefing with reporters when discussing legislation sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.

Hoyer noted that he was “inclined not to be for the Upton bill at this time,” but he emphasized that he was “not closed to the option,” and would “reserve judgment” until he had seen the legislative text, which is reportedly undergoing some tweaks.

“I agree that people who purchased their policies prior to [the law’s enactment date] ought to be able to keep their policies,” he said. Full story

November 8, 2013

House Democratic Staffers to Huddle With White House on Health Care Law Fixes

White House staff will huddle with Democratic aides on Friday to discuss administrative tweaks to the health care law that would allow individuals to keep their insurance policies even if those policies don’t meet some standards established by the law.

A House Democratic leadership aide told CQ Roll Call that Obama administration officials are scheduled to meet on Capitol Hill with aides to the chamber’s Democratic leaders and ranking members of committees. This aide did not say when the meeting would take place or whether there would be a read-out of what was discussed.

But the meeting is significant: On Thursday in an interview with NBC, President Barack Obama said he was sorry that some Americans are frustrated about losing their current policies. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that we know we hear them,” he said. Full story

November 6, 2013

House to Take Up Obamacare Fix Bill Next Week

Energized by the woes of the early days of Obamacare implementation, House Republicans will return to Capitol Hill next week to pass another bill chipping away at what they consider a failing law.

On Wednesday afternoon, midway through the chamber’s recess week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., took to Twitter to announce leadership’s plans to bring up the “Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013.” Full story

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