In August, Florida’s re-writing of the 2016 Congressional map and the changes in the party composition for the delegation. NAHU is also focusing on Virginia who is facing a re-drawing of their own district map as well. Virginia carried by President Obama twice can’t really get much worse for Democrats who only hold three seats in the 11 member delegation. But a federal district court has given some life to Democrats by requiring Virginia to redraw the lines for Democratic Rep. Robert Scott’s 3rd district which has been twice ruled as unconstitutional since it packs the district with black voters. This should give Democrats an opportunity to pick up one more seat but the question remains which incumbent Republican will be the sacrificial lamb. Many GOP operatives speculate it could be freshman Rep. Dave Brat who unseated then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary race last year. Though the logical choices would be Rep. Scott Rigell’s 2nd District or Rep. Randy Forbes 3th district which would be easiest to redraw since both districts have many more black voters than Brat’s. Both districts are much more competitive in a Presidential cycle where Obama won Rigell’s district in 2008 and 2012 while Republicans carried Forbes district by 1 and 2 points. So far the court challenges across the country are favoring Democrats but far from a boon where it will help them regain the House majority they lost in 2010.
Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey who is facing an indictment for corruption charges is raising the stakes for all of Congress by taking an aggressive strategy to fight the charges. If Menendez gets his way the indictment will be in limbo for years and perhaps even until he’s up for re-election in 2018. This past week he filed several hundred pages with the court and indicated his ideal outcome is getting cleared without a trial but with the backing of the Supreme Court. His defense team is looking for a landmark ruling that expands the range of Congressional immunity from criminal prosecution. If Menendez prevails it will become much more difficult to prove illegal behavior by lawmakers but if he fails to persuade the higher court it would make it easier to make federal criminal cases against members questionable behavior while in Congress.
With the August recess, members of Congress will be in their home district for over a month. HUPAC often does in-district events that allow NAHU members to attend events hosted by their Congressional member. The staff rarely hears about in district events because the fundraising staff is different from their staff in DC. On the rare occasion we do hear about it, NAHU staff contacts state leadership to see if members are interested in attending. Usually a small group of members from the state attend the event and provide feedback to the NAHU staff, so we can continue the conversation in DC. We encourage that if you do become aware of an event and want to attend, let your Regional HUPAC board Liaison and PAC staff know! Contact us with the details of the event and if feasible, HUPAC will make a contribution to the Congressional member.
HUPAC Supported Events In August
- Rep. David Rouzer (NC-07) with special guest, Chairman Bill Shuster (PA-09): attended a lunch for Rouzer and I believe he is going to sign onto MLR bill. This is a relationship that has been many months in the making. It helped that we have 4 other NC members on the bill.
- Meet and greet for former Rep. Sandy Adams who is running for the DeSantis seat in FL-06. She lost her seat in a intraparty redistricting fight with Chairman Mica.
- Republican Main Street reception: talked to a number of members about the excise tax, small group expansion and MLR.
- Rep. Steve Pearce (NM-02): attended a lunch for the Congressman along with NAIFA and Big I. He agreed to cosponsor the MLR again.
- NAHU hosted a meet and greet for Rep. Mark Takai (HI-1). Rep. Takai was a health insurance broker in Hawaii before coming to Congress. In attendance were a number of carriers and representatives from other insurance groups including Big I, NAIFA, CIAB and PIA. We thanked the Congressman for cosponsoring legislation to remove agents and brokers from the medical loss ratio. We also discussed our concerns of expansion of the small group market and the effect of the excise tax or “Cadillac” tax on employers. Rep. Takai is cosponsoring legislation to repeal the excise tax.
- Chris attended a DCCC business council coffee. There he spoke to Rep. Sander Levin (MI-9) the ranking member of the Ways and Means committee about the effect of the excise tax on employers starting now. Chris also spoke with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) about his efforts to create Value Based Design in Medicare Advantage.
- Senator Chris Coons (DE) had a lunch on Wednesday that Chris attended. Chris got an opportunity to thank the Senator for being the leading Democrat on the Senate bill to remove agents and brokers from the medical loss ratio. The Senator also spoke of his effort to fix expatriate health insurance in the ACA last Congress that NAHU supported and was signed into law.
- Senator Tom Carper (DE) hosted a reception this week that Chris attended. Speaking with the Senator we encouraged him to look at legislation effecting employers including the excise tax and small group market. Chris thanked the Senator for his successful efforts to repeal the small group deductible.
- A lunch was held for Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY-9) that Chris attended. Rep. Clarke is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Chris discussed with her the dangers of the expansion of the small group efforts and asked her to back efforts to leave the issue to the states.
- Chris attended a dinner for Rep. Joe Crowley (NY-14) a member of the Democratic leadership and Ways and Means Committee. Chris and representatives from Big I and CIAB all discussed the negative effects the excise tax will have on all employers in his state. The Congressman agreed that something will need to be done.
- Events for Senator Ben Sasse (NE), Senator Bob Casey (PA), Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL), and Tuesday Group are on the calendar.
- Hillary Clinton is getting a free pass from some GOP Super PACs, for now.