Washington Post Examines Bills on Health Care, Other Issues Left Unapproved by 108th Congress
The Washington Post on Thursday examined the "huge stack of unfinished business -- and dead bills" -- on health care and other issues as the "bitterly divided" 108th Congress adjourned this week. According to the Post, the small Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, the "high political stakes" in the Nov. 2 election and the ideological divide between the more conservative House and more centrist Senate combined to "produce a stalemate" on legislation to address prescription drug costs and a number of other issues.
For example, bills that would have capped damages in medical malpractice lawsuits and allowed U.S. residents to purchase lower-cost prescription drugs from abroad both failed to win approval. The House also blocked a Senate proposal to allow FDA to regulate tobacco products, and "lengthy negotiations" over legislation to establish a trust fund to compensate individuals with asbestos-related illnesses "failed to produce an agreement," according to the Post.
Although Congress will begin a post-election lame-duck session on Nov. 16, the session in large part will focus on nine appropriations bills for fiscal year 2005 that remain unapproved (DeWar, Washington Post, 10/14).