Most of January was occupied by the government shutdown and reorganization of a new Congress but as a result of the government shutdown initial legislative action including committee meetings and oversight were delayed. That began to change last week. Both houses began to hold hearings on key health care issues. The House Ways and Means Committee, under new chairman Congressman Richard Neil (D-MA) began hearings on addressing the ACA and provisions around pre-existing health conditions for patients.
The Senate Finance Committee under new chairman, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), focused on the cost of prescription drugs. At the same time Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) as the new chair of the House Oversight Committee held a hearing that also focused on the cost of prescription drugs.
Other committees holding hearings included the House Budget Committee (see below) and the House Education and Labor Committee. The later included an announcement of the Republican makeup of the new minority membership and the subcommittee roles including the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education: Representatives Rick Allen (R-GA), Glenn Thompson(R-PA), Glenn Grothman (R-WS), Van Taylor (R-TX), William R. Timmons IV (R-SC).
A new or re-named subcommittee is the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. The Subcommittee will cover Community Services Block Grant Act, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program; the Native American Programs Act; school lunch and child nutrition programs; the Older Americans Act; adolescent development programs, including but not limited to those providing for the care and treatment of certain at-risk youth such as the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act; and matters dealing with child abuse and domestic violence, including the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and child adoption. The Republicans on this Subcommittee are James Comer (R-KY), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Elise M. Stefanik (RNY), Dusty Johnson (R-SD). The Democrats have not announced the breakout of the subcommittees.