March 13, 2017: Seema Verma, REINS Act, SCRUB Act, H. Res. 186
- The final Senate vote to confirm Seema Verma as CMS Administrator will be today at 5:30 PM EDT (2:30 PM PDT).
- Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey introduced H. Res. 186 into the House last week, directing the Treasury Department to release the President's tax returns and other information about his finances.
- The REINS Act is before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
- The SCRUB Act passed the House on March 1 and is before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Jump to call scripts
The Senate will be voting today to confirm the nomination of Seema Verma as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As noted in the March 8 update, in that role, Verma would be responsible for administering the federal Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP programs, including implementing any cuts or changes to those programs. In her confirmation hearing and in her experience with Indiana's state Medicaid programs, Verma has supported changing Medicaid to a block grant system as well as imposing premiums and deductibles on low-income patients.
The vote on Verma's confirmation is expected today, March 13, at 5:30 PM EDT (2:30 PM PDT). As of today, Dianne Feinstein has issued a statement opposing Verma's confirmation, but Kamala Harris has not.
The following Democrats and independents voted "yes" on Verma's cloture motion:
- Joe Donnelly (Pennsylvania): 1,280,300 Medicaid enrollees in state. (202) 225-4814
- Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota): (202) 225-2043
- Angus King (Maine): 272,100 Medicaid enrollees in state. (202) 225-5344
- Joe Manchin (West Virginia): 510,200 Medicaid enrollees in state. (202) 225-3954
H. Res. 186:
On March 9, 2017, Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey (D-NJ-9) introduced House Resolution 186. This resolution would direct the Treasury Department to release the President's tax returns for the years 2006-2015, as well as information specifying the President's foreign debts and investments, and the use of any tax shelters. Rep. Pascrell has stated that the purpose of this bill is to investigate the President's potential conflicts of interest.
The resolution is currently before the House Ways & Means Committee. If the committee does not schedule a markup session for the resolution within 14 legislative days, then it becomes a Privileged Resolution and may be brought to the full House for a vote.
As of today, among the San Diego Congressional delegation, only Rep. Juan Vargas has co-sponsored the resolution.
- Bill information (including full text)
- Rep. Pascrell statement on resolution of inquiry
- House Ways & Means Committee membership
The Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017 (S. 21/HR. 26) passed the House on January 5, 2017 on a vote of 237-187. This bill would require that any "major rule" created by a federal agency would require Congress to specifically pass a resolution to approve it within 70 days in order for the rule to take effect.
At first glance this may not seem like an unreasonable bill, but although Congress does have the ultimate legislative authority in the United States, most actual rulemaking is delegated to different executive agencies. This is done for a number of reasons. Executive agencies, being limited in scope, are able to have detailed expertise on issues and implementation that Members of Congress generally do not have. Additionally, Congress is generally much more susceptible to gridlock than executive agencies, meaning that essential protections on issues like the environment, food safety, and consumer protection can be significantly delayed.
The bill is currently before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. No hearing or markup session has been scheduled at this time.
- Bill information (S. 21)
- Bill information (HR. 26)
- House roll call vote results
- The Most Dangerous Bill You've Never Heard Of Just Passed the House (Huffington Post 1/10/2017)
- Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee membership
The Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome (SCRUB) Act of 2017 (HR. 998) passed the House on March 1, 2017, on a vote of 240-185. The purpose of this bill is to establish a new "Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission," the mission of which would be to repeal federal protections for things like the environment, worker safety, gun control, corporate corruption, and so on. The bill would make it easier to repeal those protections by removing the ability for Congress to vote on repeals individually and requiring them to vote on protection repeals in packaged groups. It would also require existing protections to be repealed before any new ones could be implemented.
Conclusion/Call Script Overview
Today I will be calling both of my Senators and asking them to oppose Seema Verma's confirmation as CMS Administrator. I will also ask them to oppose the SCRUB Act and the REINS Act.
I'll also call my Congressman and ask him to co-sponsor H. Res. 186.
If you are not from California, you can find contact information for all U.S. Senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
If you don't know who your Representative in the House, you can look it up here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Script for Calling Dianne Feinstein
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I wanted to thank Senator Feinstein for publicly opposing the nomination of Seema Verma as CMS Administrator. I think that Verma's preference to raise costs to the most vulnerable parts of our society are unconscionable. I'm also calling because I'm concerned about the GOP's attacks on our essential environmental, consumer, and workplace protections, so I'd like to ask the Senator to please oppose S. 21, the REINS Act, and HR. 998, the SCRUB Act. Thank you."
Script for Calling Kamala Harris
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I wanted to ask Senator Harris to please vote against the confirmation of Seema Verma as CMS Administrator. I think that Verma's preference to raise costs to the most vulnerable parts of our society are unconscionable. I'm also calling because I'm concerned about the GOP's attacks on our essential environmental, consumer, and workplace protections, so I'd like to ask the Senator to please oppose S. 21, the REINS Act, and HR. 998, the SCRUB Act. Thank you."
Script for Calling Scott Peters
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I saw that Congressman Pascrell recently introduced a new resolution of inquiry into the President's taxes and financial conflicts, H. Res. 186. I believe that it is crucial to our democracy that foreign governments and corporations not have any hold over our Executive Branch, and I believe that an investigation into any such influences is important, so I'd like to ask Congressman Peters to please co-sponsor H. Res. 186. Thank you."