Aug 1, 2017

Malpractice reform bill that passed House largely written by lobbyists

Cliff Owen / AP

A bill drastically reforming federal medical malpractice law — capping damages for plaintiffs and lowering fees for attorneys — passed the House last month with no hearings in a form nearly identical to a version drafted by the Physicians Insurers Association of America, a lobbyist group for doctors and their insurers, leading the group to publicly boast about its achievement, per the Washington Post.

Bills don't often move through a whole chamber of Congress without any edits, especially on such a complicated topic. Moreover, this bill didn't have any public hearings — a practice that some on the left argue is beneficial for lobbyists and special interest groups.

Why it matters: Lobbyists — and their influence — are a fact of life in Washington, impacting nearly every piece of legislation. However, the House's move to push through a far-reaching malpractice bill without any public input is unusual. The bill has languished in the Senate thus far and if it ever got a vote, it would be unlikely to get the 60 votes needed to pass.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: Unrest continues for 6th night across U.S.

A protest near the White House on Sunday night. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Most external lights at the White House were turned off late Sunday as the D.C. National Guard was deployed and authorities fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters nearby, per the New York Times.

What's happening: It's one of several tense, late-night standoffs between law enforcement and demonstrators in the United States.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Journalists get caught in the crosshairs as protests unfold

A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag atop the CNN logo outside the CNN Center during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia, May 29. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Dozens of journalists across the country tweeted videos Saturday night of themselves and their crews getting arrested, being shot at by police with rubber bullets, targeted with tear gas by authorities or assaulted by protesters.

Driving the news: The violence got so bad over the weekend that on Sunday the Cleveland police said the media was not allowed downtown unless "they are inside their place of business" — drawing ire from news outlets around the country, who argued that such access is a critical part of adequately covering protests.

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").