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U.S. Democrats push election-year healthcare, housing, infrastructure bills

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives this week showcased three big-ticket, election-year initiatives they say would improve healthcare, protect renters from eviction amid a pandemic and spend $1.5 trillion on infrastructure projects.

The Democratic-controlled House approved the healthcare and housing bills on Monday, despite Republican opposition, signaling they will be blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate. A vote is expected this week on infrastructure.

With congressional elections only four months away, Democrats were highlighting the measures, knowing they are popular among many voters, especially progressive Democrats. They are a growing force in the party that will be important to Democrat Joe Biden’s quest to defeat Republican President Donald Trump on Nov. 3.

The healthcare bill, which aims to bolster the controversial Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, would lower medical insurance premiums, expand Medicaid and cut prescription drug costs.

It was being debated as Democrats escalated attacks on the Trump administration for urging the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate Obamacare.

Democratic Representative Raul Ruiz, a physician, urged passage of the Obamacare “enhancement,” saying it would “strengthen protections for pre-existing conditions, the same ones that make a person more likely to die from COVID-19,” the disease caused by the coronavirus that already […]

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