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Capitol Hill Update, 11 November, 2013
House & Senate – Schedule: THe House and Senate are both back in town as of this Tuesday, and both are expected to stay in session until Thanksgiving week. The Senate may recess for two weeks, starting Thanksgiving week, depending upon whether it is able to finish the agenda that Senator Reid puts forth.
Legislative Highlight of the Week: The House will vote this week on the “Keep Your Health Plan Act”, H.R. 3350. Introduced by Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, this bill seeks to stop the massive loss of insurance plans being caused by ObamaCare, allowing those who have not had their plans cancelled to actually keep them if they like them. The bill would also allow insurance companies to continue selling any plans that were on the market as of 2013 through 2014. FreedomWorks supports this legislation – you can find our letter of support HERE.
Senate – ObamaCare: Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has a very similar bill to that of Chairman Upton in the House, called the “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act”, S. 1617. Senator Johnson is hoping to secure a vote for his bill in the Senate as well, and FreedomWorks supports his efforts. FreedomWorks also supports Johnson's bill, and our letter can be found HERE.
House & Senate – ObamaCare Exemption: FreedomWorks activist have been reporting emails from their Representatives and Senators in Congress, claiming that Congress is not receiving special treatment under ObamaCare. The reality is that Members of Congress and their staff are eligible to receive subsidies through the ObamaCare exchanges which are much higher than those which ordinary citizens can receive. So regardless of what your Members might claim, they are, in fact, getting special treatment under ObamaCare.
House – ObamaCare Exchanges: The full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, November 13th, on the rollout of HealthCare.gov. Presumably questions will be asked regarding the Administration’s claims that the exchange websites would be working as scheduled, in spite of evidence that it was known well in advance that there would be major difficulties.
House – Lawsuit Reform: The House will also vote on H.R. 2655, the “Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act”. Introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), this bill attempts to discourage costly, frivolous suits by requiring that plaintiffs pay legal costs of a defendant if the suit is determined to have been frivolous.
House & Senate – Farm Bill: The latest news from the Farm Bill conference between the House and Senate is not encouraging - both chambers can agree to only token cuts and reforms to food stamp programs, and none at all to crop insurance or the other corporate welfare under the agricultural half of the Farm Bill. The committee could finish its debate any time between now the end of the year, but at the moment the most likely results seem to be not acceptable.
Senate – Nominations: This Thursday, November 14th, at 10 AM, the Senate will hold a hearing on the nomination of Janet Yellen to Chair the Federal Reserve. Senator Rand Paul has indicated that he may continue a hold on Yellen’s nomination until he is allowed to have a vote on his legislation to fully audit the Fed, S. 209. Legislation to Audit the Fed passed the House with a strong bipartisan majority last year.