Joe Williams

McConnell’s Senate Colleagues Defend Him Against Trump Attacks
Graham: ‘You should hold us all accountable for the promises we made’

Republican senators are coming to the defense of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after President Donald Trump spent the week criticizing the Kentucky Republican for so far failing to advance the GOP agenda.

Trump, who is currently vacationing at a golf resort in New Jersey, has fired off a number of tweets critical of the Kentucky Republican and backed those posts up with threats to his future as the Senate leader.

Republicans to Weigh Surplus of Tax Policy Options
Standalone bills provide a glimpse into senators’ priorities

Legislation introduced by Republican senators over the past several months could help guide the upcoming debate on an overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

While the effort is still in the adolescent stage, the bills provide an early look into the priorities members will push for during the forthcoming tax negotiations.

Senate Republicans Face Key Tax Overhaul Decisions
Effort remains in nascent stages in the face of looming deadlines

Senate Republicans have not yet come to a consensus on several crucial decisions that must be made before any serious work begins on legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code.

Complicating that effort are a number of pressing deadlines the chamber faces, including funding the government past the end of September, the upcoming debt ceiling, and a pending reauthorization of a popular children’s health insurance program. 

Analysis: Health Care Failure to Haunt Republicans Over Recess
Lawmakers call relationship with White House a ‘work in progress’

Senate Republicans departed on Thursday for a 32-day recess with key victories overshadowed by a momentous defeat on their effort to overhaul the 2010 health care law.

Lawmakers left Capitol Hill for the extended break after several months of tumult, much of which stemmed from a nascent Trump administration fraught with self-inflicted scandals and lacking in traditional political experience.

Senate Looks Ahead to Tax, Debt Limit Debates After Recess
McConnell predicts reconciliation process for tax overhaul

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and JOE WILLIAMS

Tuesday might not be the last time the Senate leaders address reporters before departing for August recess, but their messages were already setting the stage for September.

Senate Overwhelmingly Sends Russia Sanctions Bill to Trump’s Desk
The White House has sent mixed signals over whether Trump will sign it

The Senate on Thursday passed 98-2 a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. 

The White House, which has been plagued for months over a federal investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, has sent mixed signals over whether Trump would sign the legislation. 

Chaos Consumes Future of Obamacare Repeal Effort
Senate Republicans have “assurances” the House would go to conference with the chamber

By JOE WILLIAMS, REMA RAHMAN and LINDSEY McPHERSON

Senate Republicans are hinging their support on a “skinny” bill to repeal the 2010 health care law on assurances that the chamber would go to conference with the House on a broader bill with replacement measures.

‘Skinny’ Obamacare Repeal Bill Takes Shape
Language still fluid hours before an expected vote

A “skinny” bill to repeal portions of the 2010 health care law crafted by Senate Republican leadership behind closed doors is starting to take shape, but the language remains fluid hours before an expected vote on the measure.

The current proposal would repeal the individual mandate, partially repeal the employer mandate and defund Planned Parenthood for one year, a Senate GOP aide said.

Senate Rejects Obamacare 'Repeal and Delay' Proposal
Updated 2015 proposal turned back as health care reconciliation debate continues

Republicans on Wednesday were unable to garner the votes necessary to pass a measure to repeal large portions of the 2010 health law with a two-year delay.

Seven GOP senators joined with Democrats to sink the proposal, 45-55. The failure highlights the continued struggle Senate Republican leadership is facing in coalescing their conference around one health care proposal. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio voted no. 

Key GOP Senators Mum on 'Skinny' Repeal Support

Key Republican swing votes are withholding judgement on a plan from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass a “skinny” bill to repeal the 2010 health law in order to get to conference with the House.

That approach, however, has won early support from a number of GOP members, as Republicans look to try to continue a dialogue around a broader health care overhaul package after this week.

Senate Rejects First Obamacare Repeal Proposal
Portman and Cruz amendments fail to advance

Senate Republicans failed Tuesday evening to overcome an objection from Democrats over updated legislation that would overhaul the U.S. health insurance system.

The amendment, a version of a recent proposal from Republicans to repeal and replace large portions of the 2010 health care law and make sweeping changes to Medicaid, failed 43-57.

GOP Hopes for Obamacare Repeal Rest on ‘Skinny’ Bill
Several other Republican proposals expected to fail

Senate Republican hopes to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system appear to hinge on the passage of a “skinny” bill that would only repeal a select few provisions in the 2010 health care law.

GOP senators and aides anticipate that several of the other Republican health care proposals expected to be considered by the chamber in the coming days will fail, clearing the way for a package that would likely just repeal the employer and individual mandates and an excise tax on medical device manufacturers.

Senate Clears Procedural Motion on House Obamacare Overhaul
Republicans can now hold a vote on several of their own health care bills

Senate Republicans mustered the support necessary to clear a key procedural hurdle Tuesday that will allow the chamber to hold a vote on several pieces of legislation designed to, in some fashion or another, overhaul the U.S. health insurance system.

Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie to clear the Senate motion to proceed with the House-passed bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, after weeks of hand-wringing and backroom deal-making by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Complaints From Top NIH Scientist Preceded Rollback Of Lab Restrictions
Internal pushback highlights aftermath of 2015 scandal

Complaints from a top scientist at the National Institutes of Health preceded at least a partial rollback of restrictions on the number of patients that could receive treatment in his lab, according to emails obtained by CQ Roll Call under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The facility in question was previously closed after an independent audit revealed black mold in the lab, among other major compliance issues. 

NIH Contractor Dispute Underscores Agency Conflicts
Agency is trying to change cultural norms that led to 2015 scandal

A key contractor at the National Institutes of Health is urging employees to forgo compliance with federal guidelines, citing consent agreements signed by patients that acknowledge the risk of participating in clinical research at the agency, Roll Call has learned.

The agency denies the contractor’s actions and that it would ever relax compliance.

McCain to Return to Senate for Key Health Care Vote
Pentagon policy bill debate also awaits Arizona Republican

By JOE WILLIAMS and JOHN M. DONNELLYUpdated 10:10 p.m. | Sen. John McCain will return to the Senate chamber Tuesday in time for a key procedural vote on the Republican legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, his office confirmed Monday evening.

The Arizona Republican announced last week he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an often fatal form of brain cancer.

Senate GOP: Knowing Health Care Plan Is ‘Luxury We Don’t Have’
Uncertainty surrounds floor strategy for Republicans’ health care effort

By JOE WILLIAMS and LAUREN CLASON

Republican senators left Washington no closer to a deal on their health care effort, with no idea what measure might be brought up for a vote early next week or whether the chamber could even clear a key procedural hurdle needed to begin consideration of any legislation.

CBO: Latest GOP Health Care Bill Could Lead to 22M More Uninsured
Despite tweaks, Congressional Budget Office notes little change from prior versions

An updated version of the Republican plan to overhaul the U.S. insurance system would lead to an additional 22 million uninsured individuals over the next 10 years, according to an analysis released Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. 

It would also increase premium costs by 20 percent in 2018 and 10 percent in 2019, before lowering them by 30 percent in 2020. It would reduce the federal deficit by $420 billion, the budget office said. 

McCain Diagnosis Puts Health Care Effort in More Jeopardy
Corker: ‘Obviously, it makes things difficult’

By MARY ELLEN McINTIRE and JOE WILLIAMS

Abrupt news that Arizona Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer sent shock waves through an all-Republican meeting late Wednesday on the health care effort. Amid words of concern and encouragement for their GOP colleague, lawmakers acknowledged the difficulty his extended absence would place on the effort to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system.

The GOP Full-Court, Post-Lunch Press on Health Care
After White House lunch, an effort to turn nays into ayes

By John T. Bennett and Joe Williams

Senate Republicans are planning a last-ditch effort to revive their legislation to overhaul the U.S. insurance system after a lunch-time meeting on Wednesday afternoon with President Donald Trump.