Abortion

Next Supreme Court Term Stacked With Major Cases

Members of the US Supreme Court are photographed on Thursday. (Rex Features via AP Images)

The Supreme Court ended its current term this week without deciding the kinds of blockbuster issues that usually draw demonstrators to its plaza at the end of June, but the justices have seeded their next term with high-profile cases.

The addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch in April brought the court back to full strength for the first time in more than a year, and the justices are poised to jump into more contentious and headline-grabbing cases starting in October.

Senate Republicans Raise Questions About Health Care Bill
‘My concern is this doesn’t repeal Obamacare,’ Rand Paul says

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy talks with reporters Thursday after a meeting in the Capitol on the Senate Republicans’ health care draft. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A few key Senate Republicans are already raising concerns with the discussion draft of a health care bill unveiled Thursday, which could threaten its passage if the measure comes up for a vote next week.

Multiple senators raised concerns with the draft they were briefed on Thursday morning, although many said they needed to review the proposal in full. Senate GOP leaders can only lose two Republican votes on the measure for it to pass with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote as no Democrats are expected to vote for the measure. GOP leaders hope to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote next week.

Senate Obamacare Repeal Bill Largely an Entitlement Overhaul
Proposal would maintain key aspects of the 2010 health care law

From left, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso conduct a news conference after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A draft of the Senate counterpart legislation to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system unveiled Thursday would make drastic changes to the Medicaid program, but largely retain the existing federal tax credit structure from the 2010 health care law that helps individuals afford insurance, among other provisions. 

The proposal is part of the Republicans’ seven-year effort to gut former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Senate GOP leadership, which has crafted the bill largely behind closed doors with virtually no public input, has faced difficulty in bridging the gap between moderate and conservative demands.

Health Care Politics Serve as Senate Bill Text Prelude
Wednesday’s campaign fodder a preview of Thursday’s discussion draft

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing to release a draft bill to rework the U.S. health insurance system he has assembled in secret. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate procedural wonks huddled Wednesday with the parliamentarian’s office, making their case for whether Republican legislation to rework the health insurance system complies with the chamber’s rules, even as Washington braced for the release of the draft GOP measure. 

Over the next week, though, the debate will play out on both the procedural and political fields.

Abortion Provisions Said to be Dropped From Senate Health Bill
Lobbyists say two abortion-related measures ran afoul of Senate rules

Athanasius Murphy offers a blessing to protesters during the speaking program of the annual March for Life, January 27, 2017. Attendees march from the monument to Capitol Hill to oppose abortion. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two abortion-related provisions in the House-passed bill that rewrites the U.S. health insurance system have been dropped from the Senate’s counterpart version, according to several lobbyists.

A number of GOP offices would not confirm whether those provisions are still in the legislation and several aides cautioned that the working draft is still undergoing multiple revisions and that those measures could still be included.

Republicans Vent About Lack of Health Care Details
Majority leader is driving the process as member frustration mounts

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has kept details of the massive rewrite of the health insurance under lock and key. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY JOE WILLIAMS AND NIELS LESNIEWSKI

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken full control of the chamber’s effort to rewrite the U.S. health insurance system, prompting frustrated Republican members to vent their dissatisfaction over the secretive process.

Survey: Optimism Grows Among Democratic Staffers
Aides are more confident minority party can block GOP agenda

The top three Democrats in the Senate, from left, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Assistant Democratic Leader Patty Murray leave a policy luncheon in the Capitol on April 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican congressional staffers remain hopeful that they’ll enact significant legislation in 2017, but their Democratic counterparts are gaining confidence that they can block the GOP agenda, according to the June Capitol Insiders Survey of Hill aides.

Two-thirds of the Republican respondents expected it’s at least somewhat likely they’ll enact legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. But only one in five of the Democrats said the same.

South Carolina’s 5th District: The Forgotten Special Election
Race overshadowed by high-dollar showdown in Georgia

Archie Parnell, the Democratic nominee in South Carolina’s 5th District, greets potential voters at a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday in Rock Hill, S.C. (Simone Pathé/CQ Roll Call)

YORK, S.C. — Just 200 miles northeast of suburban Atlanta where local and national media are trailing Democrat Jon Ossoff, South Carolina Democrat Archie Parnell — accompanied by a sitting congressman — was passing out campaign literature at a fish fry here on Saturday with just one reporter in tow.

Parnell, the nominee in the special election for the Palmetto State’s 5th District, is doing the kind of retail politicking Ossoff gets credit for in Washington, D.C. Both candidates have made voter contact — not just by phone and mail, but by handshake — a top priority.

EMILY's List Names Maine’s Emily Cain Executive Director
Former state legislator ran against GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2014 and 2016

EMILY’s List has named two-time Maine congressional candidate Emily Cain its new executive director. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EMILY’s List named two-time Democratic congressional candidate Emily Cain as its executive director Wednesday.

Cain ran against Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District in 2014 and 2016, with the endorsement of the group, which backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights. She replaces Jess O’Connell, who is now the CEO of the Democratic National Committee. 

American Catholics Have an Ally in Trump, VP Says
Pence speaks at D.C. breakfast

Vice President Mike Pence told attendees at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday that Catholics “have an ally in President Donald Trump.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By GRIFFIN CONNOLLY and KYLE STEWART

Vice President Mike Pence denounced terrorism in the Middle East and championed President Donald Trump’s early anti-abortion initiatives in an address Tuesday at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington.