Cathy McMorris Rodgers

GOP Health Care Bill Picks up ‘A Few’ Moderate Supporters
Vote on Friday possible if more support comes together

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives for the meeting with President Donald Trump and the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By ERIN MERSHON, JOE WILLIAMS and LINDSEY McPHERSON 
CQ Roll Call

House leadership secured the support of a few moderate holdouts for their health care bill during a late-night meeting Wednesday.

Word on the Hill: What to Do This Weekend
A birthday wish from the floor

Cherry blossoms on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Happy Friday! 

There are a few ways this weekend to celebrate the new month and the beginning of spring, and the end of what felt like a very long winter.

Wine and Barbecue Sauce on the Line for Final Four Game
McMorris Rodgers and Wilson have a friendly wager on Gonzaga-South Carolina game

Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Joe Wilson of South Carolina made a friendly wager ahead of Saturday’s NCAA men’s basketball Final Four game between Gonzaga University and the University of South Carolina.

The two lawmakers announced their bet on Facebook Live on Thursday.

Word on the Hill: Smithsonian Update
Learn about Roll Call’s Congressional Staffer Guide

Visitors inside the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The free museums that line the National Mall are part of the budget conversation on Capitol Hill, too.

Federal funding covers about 70 cents of every dollar the Smithsonian Institution needs to run, according to the museum group’s website. As part of the federal establishment, the Smithsonian needs to check in with Congress every now and then.

Little Agreement Among GOP Members on Health Care Bill Next Steps
Regular conference meeting canceled ahead of Freedom Caucus meeting with Trump

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said repeal of the so-called essential health benefits provision in the Republican health care plan, which Freedom Caucus members have pushed for, might not be allowed under Senate rules. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans had hoped to vote on a bill to partially repeal and replace the landmark 2010 health care law on Thursday, seven years to the day after President Barack Obama signed it. Instead, they find themselves without the votes to do so and little agreement on their next move.

The House GOP conference’s weekly Thursday planning meeting, at which lawmakers might have decided on next steps, was canceled Thursday morning. Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, which opposed the bill, are scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump at 11:30 a.m., so progress on the bill may not be made until midday Thursday or later.

Key Conservatives Come Around on GOP Health Plan
Republican Study Committee leaders sign off, but Freedom Caucus still wary

Walker and several members of the Republican Study Committee voiced their support for the GOP health plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By JOHN T. BENNETT And LINDSEY McPHERSON, CQ ROLL CALL

Several key Republicans on Friday endorsed the health care overhaul bill crafted by GOP leaders and the White House, saying President Donald Trump had agreed to changes they favored minutes earlier during an Oval Office meeting. With a vote on the so-called American Health Care Act scheduled for this coming Thursday in the House, the news was welcomed by supporters of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law.

Search for Billions to Pay for Border Wall Confronts Congress
Spicer told reporters Trump would seek to impose a 20 percent border tax on imports from Mexico

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s press briefing plays on C-SPAN as House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Senate Republican Conference chair John Thune, R-S.D., walk off stage following their media availability at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican leaders said Thursday they plan to pony up $12 billion to $15 billion in the coming months to begin construction of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, but that large sum of money may be just the first installment to fund a project that could cost taxpayers as much as $40 billion, according to some independent estimates.

In addition, Republicans face likely opposition not just from Democrats but also centrist Republicans and fiscal hawks who would balk at seeing that kind of tab added on to the deficit. Travis Hall, a spokesman for the House Republican Study Committee, said the conservative group will insist on offsets, as it has with supplemental appropriations in the past.

GOP Unity Goals Tested as Trump Arrives at Retreat
President moves on immigration actions, while lawmakers focus elsewhere

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s press briefing plays on C-SPAN as House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune walk off stage at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump is headed to the joint Republican retreat Thursday, where he will try to bridge the divide between the White House and the GOP-controlled Congress. But if Day One of the gathering was any indication, reaching consensus on some issues will be not be easy. 

Take immigration, an issue that has dogged Congress for years, and one that became central to Trump’s campaign. The president moved forward Wednesday with executive orders regarding immigration. But at the GOP retreat, addressing immigration issues was not a top priority, particularly compared to health care, taxes and even passing appropriations bills.

Torture Talk Clouds Opening of GOP Retreat
Liz Cheney, others back full review on enhanced interrogation

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, seen here in Philadelphia at the start of the GOP retreat, had to field questions about the use of torture because of President Donald Trump’s statements about its efficacy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHILADELPHIA — Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune might not have been expecting to get pressed on U.S. torture policy Wednesday, when speaking to the media assembled for the annual GOP issues retreat.

Lynn Jenkins Won’t Seek Any Political Office in 2018
Jenkins won’t run for 6th term in the House, may move into private sector

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., won’t run for re-election in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican from the 2nd District, announced Wednesday that she will not seek a 6th term in Congress, nor will she run for any political office in 2018.

“I will not be running for any office in 2018,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “In two years, at the conclusion of this Congress, I plan to retire and explore opportunities to return to the private sector, allowing a new citizen legislator to step up and serve Kansans,” Jenkins wrote.