Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
June 5, 2024

With the House and Senate in Washington for a limited amount of time this week due to congressional delegations to Normandy for D-Day events, the Senate is expected to vote today on a bill that would guarantee access to contraception nationwide, as Democrats seek to draw a contrast with Republicans in the run up to November’s elections.  The bill – the Right to Contraception Act – would enshrine into federal law a right for individuals to buy and use contraceptives, as well as for health care providers to provide them. It would apply to birth control pills, the plan B pill, condoms and other forms of contraception.  The legislation is expected to fail to advance in a procedural vote because of opposition from Republicans, who have dismissed the effort as a political messaging vote that is unnecessary and overly broad.  The vote is part of a larger push by Senate Democrats to draw attention to how the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has affected all aspects of reproductive health – not just abortion – as the election draws closer. Democrats are highlighting the issue this month, which marks the two-year anniversary of the high court’s ruling.

For today, the Senate is also considering confirmation of the nomination of Judith E. Pipe to be an Associate Judge of the D.C. Superior Court and a Motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of Stephanie Sanders Sullivan to be Representative to the African Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador.  Later this afternoon, the Senate is expected to take up the Motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S.4381, Right to Contraception Act as mentioned above.

The House has been in for a brief session this week, and in addition to naming 24 post offices, House Republicans on Wednesday passed their first funding bill for fiscal 2025, H.R. 8580 – Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2025 laying out a proposed blueprint for the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department and military construction that also includes a list of partisan riders in areas such as abortion that are non-starters for Democrats.  The House passed the legislation 209-197 on Wednesday morning, despite a veto threat from the White House, as the GOP conference plows ahead with an aggressive plan to pass 12 annual spending bills before the August recess. Four Democrats voted in favor of the measure, while two Republicans opposed it.

The House will next be in session on Tuesday, June 11th.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.