the Senate — CONGRESS 7/26 — the House


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The Senate stands adjourned until 2:00pm on Sunday, July 26, 2015.

Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R.22, the legislative vehicle for the Highway bill.

The filing deadline for all first degree amendments to the substitute amendment #2266, as modified, and the underlying bill is set for 2:30pm on Sunday. The filing deadline for second degree amendments to the Ex-Im reauthorization amendment #2327 is also set for 2:30pm.

3:00pm Sunday—3 roll call votes expected:

  1. Cloture on McConnell amendment #2328 (ACA repeal), if cloture is not invoked, then
  2. Cloture on Kirk amendment #2327 (Ex-Im reauthorization), if cloture is invoked, then
  3. Cruz appeal of the chair: Shall the ruling of the chair stand as the decision of the Senate?

Pending Amendments to H.R.22, the legislative vehicle for the Highway bill

McConnell amendment #2266, as modified (highway substitute)

McConnell for Kirk first degree amendment # 2327 (Ex-Im reauthorization)

McConnell second degree amendment # 2328 to SA #2327 (repeal the Affordable Care Act)

McConnell first degree amendment to underlying bill #2329 (2 month surface transportation extension)

McConnell second degree amendment #2330 to SA #2329 (date change)

Wrap Up for Sunday, July 26, 2015

Roll Call Votes

  1. Cloture on McConnell amendment #2328 (ACA repeal); not invoked: 49-43.
  2. Cloture on Kirk amendment #2327 (Ex-Im reauthorization); invoked: 67-26.

Legislative Business

Voice vote on Cruz appeal of the chair: Shall the ruling of the chair stand as the decision of the Senate; rule stands by voice vote.

Completed the Rule 14 process to place on the Legislative Calendar of Business S.1861, prohibit Federal funding of Planned Parenthood (Paul).

No Executive BusinessW

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Last Floor Action:
6:19:19 P.M. – The House adjourned pursuant to a previous special order.

The next meeting is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on July 27, 2015.

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The Equality Act


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The Equality Act Introduced Today in Congress, Would Allow LGBT Americans To Live Free From Fear

Jami and Krista Contreras of Michigan found out the hard way about the lack of comprehensive legal protections for LGBT Americans. Jami and Krista were married in Vermont in 2012, and two years later their daughter Bay was born. When it came time for their baby girl’s first checkup, her doctor refused to provide her care simply because her parents are gay.

The unfortunate reality is that the Contreras’ story could have happened in the majority of states across America. Despite the progress that has been made in ensuring marriage equality, there are still over 30 states that lack clear and comprehensive legal protections for LGBT people. In these states, LGBT Americans are at risk of being fired from their jobs, refused service from a business, or evicted from their apartment simply because of who they are. As the Contreras family learned, even the children of LGBT couples are not safe from discrimination without explicit federal law prohibiting it.

Thankfully, many members of congress recognize this reality and are working to change it. The Equality Act, introduced today, is a historic bill that would ensure comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBT people regardless of where they live. Under The Equality Act “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” would be added to protections for employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and juries. The bill would also expand and enhance existing protections for people of color, women, and Americans of all faiths. For more details about all the protections included in the bill read this.

The Equality Act was introduced by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-OR) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. David Ciclline (D-RI), along with a long list of co-sponsors including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Lewis. Its support among congressional democrats and LGBT advocates is huge.

Not surprisingly, support for the bill is not as high among conservatives in Congress, many of whom oppose any non-discrimination legislation and are actively working against it. In fact, just last week, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which the ACLU has described as Indiana’s religious freedom bill on steroids.

BOTTOM LINE: The last decade has seen huge progress in the recognition and attainment of LGBT rights. But in 31 states, LGBT Americans are at risk of being fired from their jobs, refused service from a business, and much more, just because of who they are. LGBT Americans deserve to live free from fear. The Equality Act will ensure that they can.

Coming To Their Senses


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More Conservative States Are Closing The Coverage Gap

The Supreme Court’s resounding 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell last month demonstrated that serious legal threats to the Affordable Care Act are over and the health care law is here to stay. Next up: Getting all 50 states to close the coverage gap and expand health care to low-income working people. Elected officials in the conservative states that have not expanded Medicaid may have been hoping the high court would strike a blow to the law, but now they are back to facing reality: they have no good reason to refuse federal funding to cover thousands of residents and add millions of dollars to their state economies.

Sure enough, previous holdouts are beginning to take the steps to put patients over politics. In the last few days, Alaska and Utah have announced steps toward expansion.

On Thursday, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) announced he will use executive action to extend coverage to an estimated 40,000 low-income Alaskans. Walker — a former Republican who has since become an Independent — has been advocating for Medicaid expansion for over a year. Nonetheless, Republican lawmakers have repeatedly blocked efforts to approve the expansion. Now, Walker has had enough and will move forward with Medicaid expansion even without the legislature’s approval. “This is the final option for me — I’ve tried everything else,” Walker said.

On Friday, GOP leaders in Utah reached an agreement of their own to close the coverage gap. A group of six state legislative leaders have continued to meet since the end of the 2015 General Legislative Session to formulate a plan. Now, it will meet with policy makers and other stakeholders to create a formal draft in the coming weeks.

Long story short: on the map below, Alaska and Utah are bringing the number of holdout states down to just 19.

Which state will be next?

BOTTOM LINE: There has never been any moral or economic reason for conservative states to refuse to close to the coverage gap. But after King v. Burwell, conservative state officials have less and less of a political reason to hold out. Alaska and Utah have become the first states since the Supreme Court decision to put patients over politics, and it’s only a matter of time until the other holdouts come to their senses and make the right choice too.