Connecticut’s Washington Week
In the news: Congress kept fighting over the Iran nuclear deal. GE CEO Jeff Immelt lobbied for reauthorization of the Export-Import bank. A fight continued over funding Planned Parenthood, a confrontation that could lead to a government shutdown. And the UConn women’s basketball team was at the White House — again.
CT senators help block disapproval of Iran deal, again and again.
Senate Republicans continued to hold votes in an attempt to break a filibuster on a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear agreement. Connecticut Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal continued to vote with most of their Democratic colleagues to block the deal. Congress had until Sept. 17 to weigh in on the agreement, a deadline which passed without congressional action.
GE CEO Jeff Immelt came to Washington to try to bolster Democratic efforts to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. The Ex-Im bank is a government corporation that helps the sales of U.S. goods to buyers overseas. GE said this week it may move hundreds of U.S. jobs overseas because prospective foreign customers can no longer access the bank’s services. Immelt is also weighing whether to move GE’s headquarters from Fairfield to another state because of changes in Connecticut’s corporate tax rules. Several members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation pressed Immelt to keep the headquarters in Fairfield. “We are prepared to continue consulting and meeting with GE to determine what we can do on every issue that concerns the company, including Ex-Im,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. “We are here to help.”
Census says number without health insurance in CT is down
Connecticut’s uninsured rate dropped below 7 percent after major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released this week. Uninsured rates fell in all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2014, and enrollment growth was highest in Medicaid and individually purchased private insurance – the two types of coverage most directly affected by the ACA.
CT lawmakers vote against defunding Planned Parenthood
On a party-line vote, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood, a reaction to undercover videos by an anti-abortion group that filmed Planned Parenthood officials discussing agreements to provide fetal tissues to medical labs. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, led an effort to send the bill back to committee, but the motion failed on a 183-245 vote. GOP leaders prevented Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, from bringing up a separate amendment, which would not allow defunding if Department of Health and Human Services determined that would result in an increase in abortions or hurt women’s health. Senate Democrats are likely to block the defunding bill, and if they can’t, President Obama will veto it. But the vote sets the stage for a bitter, partisan fight over the issue in the federal budget and increases the chances of a government shutdown.
Huskies women, perennial White House visitors
In honoring the UConn women’s basketball team President Obama joked that team members ”visited so much they are now certified to give White House tours.” The team was honored for their third straight national title. It was the team’s 10th title, but Obama ribbed that the streak could come to an end. Coach Geno Auriemma disagreed, saying he could continue to coach the women’s team “as long as I’m healthy enough to do so.”
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