In the news: Blumenthal’s Iran decision, Malloy’s parley with Amtrak and congressional hearings involving big insurance mergers.
Blumenthal’s decision helps cement nuclear deal with Iran
Thanks to last-minute decisions by Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and several other Senate Democrats to back the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama was able to muster enough support to block a GOP Senate resolution disapproving the agreement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to hold another vote in the Senate next week. Pact opponents, including presidential hopeful Donald Trump and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, both Republicans, continued to attack the agreement on Capitol Hill. And partisan fighting over the pact continued in the House, with largely symbolic votes against the agreement.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy traveled to Washington this week to meet with federal and Amtrak officials in an effort to mend frayed relations and move forward on a commuter rail project along the line from New Haven to Hartford to Springfield. The enmity between the governor and Amtrak was caused by delays and cost overruns on the project. There was an agreement to work together more cordially, but details are to come later.
Hearing provides forum for attacks on health insurance mergers
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to review consolidation in the health care industry, including proposed mergers between Aetna and Humana and between Anthem and Cigna. The hearing gave some politically powerful opponents of the pact, the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, a platform to attack the mergers. Congressional Republicans, who say health care industry consolidation is an unwelcome effect of the Affordable Care Act, have not weighed in on the mergers yet. Nor have Democrats.
Murphy urges U.S. to take in 50,000 Syrian refugees
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., came back from a trip to the Middle East that included a visit to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan with the conviction that the United States should take in at least 50,000 of those displaced people. The United States, however, has agreed to accept about 10,000 Syrian refugees.
Biden still debating run; CT delegation committed to Clinton
Vice President Biden continued to express uncertainty over a possible White House bid. Most members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation – all Democrats – have already endorsed Hillary Clinton.