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Last Week

The Senate voted 90-8 to pass its first appropriations bill of the year, a $37.5 billion measure that would fund energy and water programs. Democrats allowed the bill to advance after senators rejected a partisan amendment that would prohibit the Obama administration from buying heavy water from Iran’s nuclear program. The House spent much of the week dedicated to the Opioid abuse crisis, passing three bills Thursday setting up federal grants and taking other steps to battle the drug epidemic, the last of 18 measures on the issue the chamber overwhelmingly passed last week. Members of both parties hailed the measures, though some complained that none provided any money for the programs and anti-drug advocates called the bills a needed but modest first step. With the Senate approving its own version in March, lawmakers now hope to send to the president a compromise bill before Congress begins a long summer recess in July.

In a rarely used procedure, the House of Representatives suing the President of the United States, a federal judge ruled against the Obama administration in a case filed by the Republican-controlled House that challenges the portion of the Affordable Care Act dealing with “cost sharing.” The district court judge ruled that the administration was unconstitutionally funding cost-sharing subsidies under the law. The judge ruled that the government cannot reimburse insurance companies unless Congress appropriates the money. more

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