U.S. House passes horse racing safety bill

National legislation designed to standardize medication and safety protocols in horse racing passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support Tuesday. A form of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act has been around since 2015, but it never had the traction to make it onto the House floor until this year.



a group of people sitting at a table in front of a fence: Horses run in front of empty stands at Santa Anita Park on March 14. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)


© (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
Horses run in front of empty stands at Santa Anita Park on March 14. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has introduced the same bill in the Senate, although there is no date set for committee markup or a vote. It is expected to pass before the end of the year.

The House bill was introduced by Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), who represents the area around Saratoga, and Andy Barr (R-Ky.), who represents the area around Keeneland and horse farms near Lexington.

The bill has support from all the major racetrack organizations and animal welfare groups. It is, though, a concept with some broad principles rather than a specific plan to be executed at the state level. Currently, there are 38 different jurisdictions that regulate horse racing.

“[Tuesday’s] historic passage … by an overwhelmingly favorable bipartisan vote reflects broad industry support of much-needed national standards for anti-doping and medication control as well as racetrack safety,” said Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn.

While the idea is to standardize rules and regulations across the country, there appears to be some room for states to impose their own rules, which would no longer make it a national standard. If horse racing is truly standardized, some jurisdictions may have to relax their regulations.

New Jersey, for example, recently outlawed the use of the riding crop, also called a whip, except in the case of safety. It’s the most strict rule in the country. A new whip rule goes into effect in California on Thursday in which a horse can be struck no more than six times and only in an underhand motion.

The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Assn., which represents around 30,000 owners and trainers, has been the most vocal in its opposition to the bill. Among its objections is the proposed banning of the drug Lasix, which is used to treat exercise-induced bleeding from the lungs. The HBPA contends there have not been enough veterinary studies conducted to justify this move.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is one of the co-sponsors of the Senate bill, but the California Horse Racing Board has reservations about the bill’s passage. At Thursday’s CHRB meeting, Executive Director Scott Chaney expressed concern over fears that standards could be relaxed or that the highly respected UC Davis laboratory might be shut out of testing if it is taken over by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency as the bill proposes. The board, though has not taken a formal position on the matter.

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House passes bill to ban doping horses on race day

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act moves on to the Senate.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban doping horses on race day as well as install federal regulations over the sport to help ensure the animals’ safety.

In addition to banning race-day medication — a key concern tied to the safety and well-being of the animals — the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act would establish a uniform set of track safety standards and put in place a uniform anti-doping and medication control program at all 38 racing jurisdictions.

The bill will now go to the Senate.

“This legislation tackles some of the key reasons behind the growing numbers of racehorse deaths in recent years, including the rampant doping of these animals with performance-enhancing drugs and painkillers that mask pain in order to allow injured horses to train or race,” a statement from the Humane Society reads. “Racehorses would only be allowed to compete if they are free from such drugs.”

PHOTO: John Velazquez rides Authentic in the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.,  Sept. 5, 2020.

John Velazquez rides Authentic in the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 5, 2020.

John Velazquez rides Authentic in the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 5, 2020.

The proposed legislation comes after years of controversial horse deaths and animal welfare advocates calling for federal regulation of horse racing. In March 2019, Southern California’s Santa Anita Park introduced a zero-tolerance policy for almost all medication on race day after dozens of horses died within months of beginning the season.

An average of 8.5 horses died during races every week in 2019, according to The Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database. This number does not include horses that died during training.

“This is an animal protection crisis, and we commend House members for their swift and decisive vote to end it,” Humane Society CEO and President Kitty Block said in a statement.

The bill is supported by Churchill Downs Incorporated, the Louisville-based operator of the Kentucky Derby, The Jockey Club, the Breeders Cup and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, according to the Humane Society.

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Thousands to honor Ginsburg in DC today; House passes bill to avert shutdown; 4 MLB teams clinch | Nation

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Today is Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. Let’s get caught up.

These non-virus headlines are in the news this morning: Thousands are expected to pay their respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court; the House passed stopgap funding aimed at averting a shutdown; and four MLB teams clinched playoff spots.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.

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Supreme Court Ginsburg

A memorial to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg includes a photograph of the late Justice, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, outside the Harvard Law School library at Langdell Hall, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. 




Thousands expected to honor Ginsburg at Supreme Court

Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects at the Supreme Court to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the women’s rights champion, leader of the court’s liberal bloc and feminist icon who died last week.

Even with the court closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic and Washington already consumed with talk of Ginsburg’s replacement, the justice’s former colleagues, family, close friends and the public will have the chance Wednesday and Thursday to pass by the casket of the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

The sad occasion is expected to bring together the remaining eight justices for the first time since the building was closed in March and they resorted to meetings by telephone. The latest coverage:

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House passes sweeping clean energy bill

The House on Thursday passed a broad bill that aims to boost energy efficiency and renewable energy sources as part of an attempt to combat climate change. 

The chamber approved the 900-page Clean Energy and Jobs Innovation Act in a 220-185 vote. 

The legislation would create research and development programs for solar, wind, advanced geothermal energy and hydroelectric power as well as lessening pollution from fossil fuel production. 

It would also establish more rigorous building codes and bolster energy efficiency requirements and weatherization programs. 

The bill moved rapidly through the House. It was first introduced last week and did not go through any legislative hearings.

A similar energy innovation package that was introduced in the Senate earlier this year has recently been reenergized after legislators came to an agreement on an amendment seeking to phase down the use of a type of greenhouse gas. 

A senior House Democratic aide told The Hill that if the Senate passes its own bill, the chambers can go to conference to resolve their disagreements. The aide said that House Democrats urge Republicans to take some action on clean energy, either moving by their own bill or taking up the House bill.  

Speaking in favor of the House legislation, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHoyer: House should vote on COVID-19 aid — with or without a bipartisan deal Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose at Supreme Court McCarthy threatens motion to oust Pelosi if she moves forward with impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) praised it as one step in the fight to tackle climate change. 

“It takes actions that scientists, researchers and experts tell us is needed by launching the research and development needed to unleash a clean energy revolution and reduce pollution in our communities, making a bold down payment for future climate action by modernizing America’s energy innovation infrastructure,” she said. 

The top Republicans on the Natural Resources, Energy and Commerce and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees released a joint statement criticizing the legislation this week. 

“Here we are in the middle of a global pandemic and Speaker Pelosi wants to spend more than $135 billion on a piece of legislation that will never become law,” said Reps. Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOVERNIGHT ENERGY: California seeks to sell only electric cars by 2035 | EPA threatens to close New York City office after Trump threats to ‘anarchist’ cities | House energy package sparks criticism from left and right House energy package sparks criticism from left and right OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA head questions connection of climate change to natural disasters | Pebble Mine executives eye future expansion in recorded conversations | EPA questions science linking widely used pesticide to brain damage in children MORE (R-Utah), Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHillicon Valley: DOJ proposes tech liability shield reform to Congress | Treasury sanctions individuals, groups tied to Russian malign influence activities | House Republican introduces bill to set standards for self-driving cars OVERNIGHT ENERGY: California seeks to sell only electric cars by 2035 | EPA threatens to

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House passes bill aimed at imports tied to Uyghur forced labor

A bill aimed at shining a light on corporations benefiting from the use of China’s forced labor camps, which have targeted Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region, passed the House in a 229-187 vote on Wednesday.



a group of people looking at a laptop: House passes bill aimed at imports tied to Uyghur forced labor


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House passes bill aimed at imports tied to Uyghur forced labor

The Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act of 2020 – spearheaded by Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) – would require companies that are publicly traded in the United States and do business within the region to disclose information on their supply chains, including whether their products could be made by forced labor.

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Proponents of the legislation argue it is a step in the right direction in taking a stand against human rights abuses in the region.

“This legislation is essential to protect American investors and consumers through stronger disclosure requirements alerting them to Chinese and international companies whose operations enable the mass internment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said during debate.

“It represents a clear and material risk to shared values and the corporate reputations of these companies and US investors and consumers,” McGovern added.

Critics argued that while they agree the United States needs to take action to crackdown on human rights violations, certain provisions in the bill that could place unnecessary regulatory burdens on companies. Republicans also took aim at Democrats for not having the bill go through the committee process.

“While the bill takes strong action to ensure American businesses are not complicit in China’s forced labor programs, there are outstanding concerns in the bill that may harm U.S. businesses. For instance, the bill requires public companies to file disclosures with the SEC if they imported manufactured goods or other materials that originated in or are sourced in the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region and disclose whether those goods originated in forced labor camps,” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) said on the floor ahead of the vote.

“These entities would also have to disclose the nature and extent of the commercial activity related to each good or material, the gross revenue, and net profits attributable, and whether they intend to continue importing the goods. China’s atrocities against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups must come to an end and we voted on that bill yesterday in a bipartisan fashion.”

The bill was brought to the floor as Republicans have repeatedly slammed Democrats over not being hard enough on China, making it a key component of their campaign strategy.

Video: U.S. House passes stopgap funding bill to avoid government shutdown (Reuters)

U.S. House passes stopgap funding bill to avoid government shutdown

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House easily passes stopgap funding bill, averting shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a sweeping bipartisan vote that takes a government shutdown off the table, the House passed a temporary government-wide funding bill Tuesday night, shortly after President Donald Trump prevailed in a behind-the-scenes fight over his farm bailout.

The stopgap measure will keep federal agencies fully up and running into December, giving lame-duck lawmakers time to digest the election and decide whether to pass the annual government funding bills by then or kick them to the next administration. The budget year ends Sept. 30.

The 359-57 vote came after considerable behind-the-scenes battling over proposed add-ons. The final agreement gives the administration continued immediate authority to dole out Agriculture Department subsidies in the run-up to Election Day. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., retreated from an initial draft that sparked a furor with Republicans and farm-state Democrats, who said she was interfering with the routine implementation of the rural safety net as low crop prices and Trump’s own tariffs slam farm country.

“It’s a big deal. This is cash flow to mom and pop businesses all over rural America,” said Texas Rep. Michael Conaway, top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee. “They get them every year in October. They come like clockwork.”

In talks Tuesday, Pelosi restored a farm aid funding patch sought by the administration, which has sparked the ire of Democrats who said it plays political favorites as it gives out bailout money to farmers and ranchers.

In return, Pelosi won COVID-related food aid for the poor, including an extension of a higher food benefit for families whose children are unable to receive free or reduced lunches because schools are closed over the coronavirus. Another add-on would permit states to remove hurdles to food stamps and nutrition aid to low-income mothers that are more difficult to clear during the pandemic.

The deal permitted the measure to speed through the House after a swift debate that should ensure smooth sailing in the GOP-held Senate before next Wednesday’s deadline. There’s no appetite on either side for a government shutdown.

On Monday, Democrats released a version of the stopgap measure that did not contain the farm bailout provision, enraging Republicans and putting passage of the measure in doubt. It became apparent that Pelosi did not have the votes to pass it — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed it as a “rough draft” — and negotiations continued.

Democrats complain that the Trump administration has favored southern states such as Georgia — a key swing state and home of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue — and larger producers in distributing bailout funds. Farmers are suffering from low commodity prices and the effects of higher tariffs imposed by Trump. Trump announced a new $13 billion allotment of bailout funding at a political rally in Wisconsin last week.

The administration’s handling of farm subsidies had angered Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the powerful top Democrat on the Agriculture Committee. She said that the Agriculture Department didn’t need the special financing provision that

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House passes stopgap funding bill, avoids shutdown

Sept. 22 (UPI) — The House on Tuesday passed a a bipartisan agreement to fund the government through the end of the year, averting an Oct. 1 shutdown.

The vote came shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she and Republican negotiators had reached a deal on the continuing resolution, which includes $8 billion to fund nutrition assistance and and greater oversight to make sure farm assistance doesn’t go to oil companies.

“To help the millions of families struggling to keep food on the table during the pandemic, Democrats have renewed the vital, expiring lifeline of pandemic [Electronic Benefit Transfer] for a full year and enabled our fellow Americans in the territories to receive this critical nutrition assistance,” she said.

“Democrats secured urgently needed assistance for schoolchildren to receive meals despite the coronavirus’s disruption of their usual schedules, whether virtual or in-person, and expanded Pandemic EBT access for young children in child care. We also extended key flexibility for states to lower administrative requirements on [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] for families in the middle of this crisis.”

The Senate must agree to the same legislation before President Donald Trump can sign it.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who’s been negotiating the spending deal with Pelosi, didn’t comment on her announcement.

The deal funds the U.S. government through Dec. 11, avoiding a potential shutdown amid election season, a pandemic and an economic crisis. The new fiscal year is set to begin Oct. 1.

House Democrats’ original continuing resolution proposal eliminated about $30 billion supported by Trump for a bailout for farmers through the Commodity Credit Corp. Further negotiations restored at least some of the funding after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell promised a fight from his party.

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House passes short-term spending bill to avoid government shutdown

The deal will fund the government through Dec. 11.

The House approved late Tuesday night, in a 359-57-1 vote, a stopgap bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not vote yes or no, but “present.”

The Senate will likely vote on the measure by the end of the week — where it is also expected to pass — before it heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. The stopgap measure must pass by Oct. 1 to keep U.S. agencies open.

“We have reached an agreement with Republicans on the CR to add nearly $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for hungry schoolchildren and families,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”

“To help the millions of families struggling to keep food on the table during the pandemic, Democrats have renewed the vital, expiring lifeline of Pandemic EBT for a full year and enabled our fellow Americans in the territories to receive this critical nutrition assistance,” she continued. “Democrats secured urgently needed assistance for schoolchildren to receive meals despite the coronavirus’s disruption of their usual schedules, whether virtual or in-person, and expanded Pandemic EBT access for young children in child care. We also extended key flexibility for states to lower administrative requirements on SNAP for families in the middle of this crisis.”

The surprise late-night agreement came just days after talks crumbled late last week over policy disagreements.

Democrats have contended that the farm aid for the Commodity Credit Corporation — a GOP priority — “wasn’t help for farmers” but was “a bottomless, unaccountable political slush fund.”

“House Democrats already passed more than $30 billion in targeted and tailored emergency aid to farm country in response to the pandemic as part of the Heroes Act, including language to ensure greater transparency and accountability with the Administration’s use of the Commodity Credit Corporation, including decreasing the Secretary’s ability to spend billions of taxpayer dollars without telling Congress,” the aide added.

After lengthy negotiations did not produce a bipartisan agreement with Republicans, House Democrats introduced their own proposal Monday afternoon funding government until Dec. 11, moving “full steam ahead” on a vote Tuesday, according to a senior Democratic aide.

Recognizing the lack of an agreement, a senior House Democratic aide warned that the bill “may get stuck in the Senate” after House passage,

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House passes funding bill with GOP support to avert looming government shutdown

The House passed a bipartisan spending bill on Tuesday after reaching a deal with the White House to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month, keeping the federal government open until December.



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The Democratic-controlled House voted 359-57 on the interim spending measure to fund the government through December 11th. The legislation, known as a continuing resolution or “CR,” was hailed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a statement Tuesday, who reached the deal with Republican leaders and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The legislation boosts funding for nutrition benefits to families, aid to farmers, and funds various parts of the federal government.

“We have reached an agreement with Republicans on the CR to add nearly $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for hungry schoolchildren and families,” Pelosi said. “We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”

The resolution now heads to the Senate, but unclear when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will bring it to the floor. McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that he worked with Pelosi to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation for aid to go directly to farmers.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., however, criticized the process, saying that the resolution is only a temporary stopgap measure.

“A lot of to and froing. A lot of people wanted this, a lot of people wanted that. A lot of people didn’t want this, a lot of people didn’t want that,” he said. “But we have an agreement that will keep the government functioning for the people from now until December 11th.”

He added, “I’m hopeful that everyone will put their heads together to get the appropriation process done and we’ll probably do it in an omnibus, not single appropriation bills. Which is not a good way to do it either.”

Video: To prevent a complete shutdown, keep me at 50% in a liberal state and 75% in a conservative state: Fertitta (CNBC)

To prevent a complete shutdown, keep me at 50% in a liberal state and 75% in a conservative state: Fertitta

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House overwhelmingly passes bipartisan spending deal to avert government shutdown

The deal was negotiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a chaotic series of events over the past several days. Talks abruptly collapsed late Friday just as a deal appeared within reach, and Pelosi released a partisan bill on Monday that was swiftly rejected by Republicans. But on Tuesday morning, Pelosi and Mnuchin resumed negotiations, and Pelosi announced late Tuesday that they had reached a deal.

The sticking point was demands from the Trump administration and Republicans — along with a handful of largely farm-state House Democrats — for an infusion of money into a farm bailout program that Trump has used to repay farmers hurt by his trade policies. In exchange for agreeing to the bailout money, Pelosi secured about $8 billion for a variety of nutrition programs, including for schoolchildren affected by the coronavirus pandemic — a significantly larger sum than had been on the table Friday.

The short-term spending legislation — known as a “continuing resolution,” or CR — would keep the federal government funded through Dec. 11.

“We have reached an agreement with Republicans on the CR to add nearly $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for hungry schoolchildren and families,” Pelosi said. “Democrats secured urgently needed assistance for schoolchildren to receive meals despite the coronavirus’s disruption of their usual schedules.”

There was no immediate comment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but in light of the strong vote in the House, the Senate looked likely to approve the legislation.

Congress needs to pass a spending bill by Sept. 30, the last day in the 2020 fiscal year, or large portions of the government would begin to shut down. The bill also must be signed by Trump ahead of the shutdown deadline.

Even with much attention on Capitol Hill focused on the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there was little appetite on either side for brinkmanship over a government shutdown.

Republicans secured provisions in the stopgap spending bill to replenish a $30 billion borrowing fund called the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), a New Deal-era program that Trump has used to reimburse farmers harmed by his trade policies and tariffs. Democratic leaders opposed the additional money, partly because they say Trump could use it for political purposes.

At a campaign rally in Wisconsin last week, Trump announced a new package of aid for farmers from the CCC, which he has used in an unprecedented way. Under previous administrations, the CCC was used for much more limited purposes, and some Democrats charge that Trump has essentially turned it into a slush fund.

But there are also several endangered House Democrats who support the program, including Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, freshman members who flipped GOP-held seats in 2018 and now face tough reelection races. Axne and Finkenauer both signed a letter along with Iowa’s two Republican senators, Charles E. Grassley and Joni Ernst, blasting exclusion of the CCC money from the

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