There’s no Gold Rush, so the Chiefs are Still in Town
Last week, we noted that the Senate was “scheduled” to begin a two-week recess today, February 12. We used that wording intentionally because we knew things could change – and they did.
The Senate worked through the weekend on a $95 billion aid package for Israel, Taiwan and Ukraine (without border funding) that appears to be headed toward passage by midweek. Assuming the supplemental funding survives the Senate, Speaker Mike Johnson will decide next steps in the House. Will he bring the bill to the House floor as-is? Will he break it apart into separate packages? We wait to see, but in the meantime, congressional leadership is focused on this emergency funding and not on the details of the fiscal year 2024 government funding packages, whose March 1 and March 8 deadlines are quickly approaching. Because the March 8 bill is the vehicle for a health package, agreement must be reached on government funding in order for any significant health legislation to be attached.
In other important healthcare news, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced that she will not seek reelection. This House committee has the broadest jurisdiction of any authorizing committee in Congress. Its purview includes public health, the US Food and Drug Administration, Medicaid, Medicare and Affordable Care Act coverage. McMorris Rodgers joins more than a dozen House Republicans who plan to retire this year, more than half of whom are leaving positions on the Energy and Commerce Committee. We will watch closely to see what initiatives Chair McMorris Rodgers may seek to advance as she wraps up her nearly 20-year tenure on the Hill. Because nothing waits in Washington, other Energy and Commerce Committee members, including Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), who chairs the Subcommittee on Health, and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), who is the next most senior member of the committee, have announced their candidacies to replace McMorris Rodgers as chair or ranking member in the next Congress.
Be sure to check out our Congressional Retirement Tracker and our Election 2024 Resource Center.
Debbie Curtis and Rodney Whitlock join Priya Rathakrishnan to discuss congressional priorities and the announced retirement of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).