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Pharmacy Choice - Pharmaceutical News - Congress in motion [Korea Times] - October 20, 2017

Pharmacy News Article

 6/19/17 - Congress in motion [Korea Times]

Coming back from their Memorial Day break, members of Congress resumed work this week on a lengthy agenda of actions that they need to complete before going on their long end-of-summer break, scheduled to begin Aug. 1.

The first of these is raising the national debt limit. Federal government debt now stands at $19.9 trillion. It is gauged to pass its limit by mid-summer, weeks off. Congressional action to raise it will set off, primarily among the majority Republicans, a titanic battle between the Freedom Caucus, who believe not only that the level of national debt should not rise further but even begin to fall, and more mainstream Republicans.

The Democrats won't want to help, first, because they don't like how the Republicans want to spend federal money, more for defense and less for social services, and second because they enjoy seeing the majority Republicans scrapping among themselves. The Republicans want to spend $54 billion more than the Pentagon asked for on defense. The Democrats look for leverage to protect spending on Medicaid, food stamps and other social services.

Other priority areas for Congress include completion of action replacing the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act, Trumpcare. The Republican successor to the ACA was passed by the House of Representatives but remains bogged down in the Senate. Prospects for passage of tax reform, also promised by President Donald Trump and on the congressional agenda, remain cloudy. To Democrats, who recognize the need for tax reform, the bill still looks too much like giving tax breaks to the rich while doing little for the poor, whose ranks continue to grow.

There are also the supposedly routine spending bills, a dozen of them, that need to be passed by Sept. 30 to prevent the federal government, or parts of it, and the elements in state government that depend on them, from being shut down.

Then there is the much-promised infrastructure bill. Trump talks about $1 trillion, to fix locks and dams as well as roads and bridges.

All of this is supposed to be completed before the August break. Americans hope so, but beaches, lakes and donors and voters to court will beckon.

In the meantime, the issue of Russian involvement in America's elections will attract a lot of congressional and public attention, as it should, particularly given its potential impact on future candidacies.

(c) 2017 Korea Times Co. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

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