House GOP Momentum on CR Comes to a Halt
House Republican leadership scrapped a plan earlier this week to hold a procedural vote on a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government after September 30 due to lingering opposition from hardline conservatives. Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) modified plans for a 30-day CR by capping Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 spending levels at $1.47 trillion and adding some border security measures as a means to win over Freedom Caucus members who were initially opposed to a stopgap funding measure. However, nine House Republicans declined to support the new CR proposal, which boosts the odds of a shutdown at the end of the month. Even if McCarthy’s stopgap appropriations agreement had succeeded in the House, his CR would have likely been dead on arrival in the Senate, which has taken a more bipartisan approach to FY 2024 spending.
Administration Revives Free COVID-19 Test Program
The Biden administration is bringing back a program that will allow Americans to order free COVID-19 tests ahead of a possible winter surge in cases. Starting on September 25, every US household can order four free COVID-19 rapid tests on COVIDtests.gov to be delivered directly to their home. According to the administration, the tests are able to detect the latest variants and are intended to be used through the end of 2024. To ensure the availability of tests, the administration is also providing $600 million to 12 manufacturers to produce 200 million tests. For the past three years, COVID-19 cases have peaked in January.
KFF: Most Nursing Homes Don’t Meet Proposed Staffing Requirements
Very few nursing homes in the US meet staffing requirements as proposed by the Biden administration, according to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The survey found that less than 20% of nursing facilities would meet the proposed staffing requirements at any time, although results varied across states. While all nursing facilities in Alaska would be able to meet the proposed requirements, only 1% of facilities in Louisiana would meet them. The recently proposed requirements call for facilities to have a minimum of 0.55 registered nurse (RN) and 2.45 nurse aide hours per resident day, as well as require facilities to have an RN on staff 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Poll: Americans Want More Controls on Opioids
Voters from both parties broadly agree on increasing control of opioids like fentanyl by enacting stronger border controls and punishing drug dealers, according to a Morning Consult poll. However, there were partisan differences with how to address the opioid crisis, with Republicans opposing harm reduction strategies like syringe services that Democrats tend to support. The poll also found that voters tend to see the opioid crisis more as a security issue than a health issue, which benefits Republican candidates who are perceived as stronger on security than Democrats. Voters who live in border states like Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas were more likely to label the opioid epidemic as a security issue, according to the poll.
ICYMI: Senate Drops Enforcement of Dress Code
The US Senate will no longer enforce its dress code for senators, according to a recent announcement from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The change was primarily made to accommodate Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who prefers to wear hooded sweatshirts and shorts. Senators from both parties and the Washington Post editorial board were quick to condemn the change, noting that it could lead to a slippery slope where lawmakers would eventually wear sports team apparel and clothing with inflammatory political statements on the Senate floor. However, the dress code will continue to be enforced for Senate staff.