health care

Photos of the Week: Puppies, Pence and Press Conferences
The week of Feb. 13 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As a resignation and withdrawn Cabinet nominee rocked the White House this week, Congress was at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue proceeding through consideration of several other Cabinet nominees, debating Obamacare alternatives and much more. 

On the lighter side of this Valentine's Day week, some pets up for adoption stopped by the Capitol to bring love to staffers and members alike.

Robbing the Poor to Pay Paul Ryan’s Pals
Speaker may have powerful ally for assault on Medicaid

Speaker Paul D. Ryan Ryan has another shot at Medicaid with longtime ally Tom Price running the Department of Health and Human Services, Jonathan Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants you to know that he cares about the poor. He wants you to know that his deeply held Catholic convictions drive him to seek opportunity for those in poverty, particularly people of color.

He speaks in the compassionate tones of someone who means to help not harm, and I believe that these are his real values, even if I often don’t agree with his policy prescriptions.

Rep. Reed Surprises Sit-In Participants
New York Republican has two-hour discussion at district office

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., surprised constituents who were requesting a town hall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., surprised people staging a sit-in at a district office when he dropped by Thursday after a meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Washington.

Six people from Ithaca Catholic Workers began the sit-in on Tuesday to highlight that Reed not holding a town hall since May 2, 2016. Reed arrived around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Word on the Hill: Muslim Group Advocacy Day Focuses on Refugees
Senate majority leader has birthday on Presidents Day

Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern will address the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA before its advocacy day on Capitol Hill on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The seventh annual “Day on the Hill” for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA today will highlight its “True Islam” campaign and “#MuslimAlly” hashtag.

The group maintains it is the oldest Muslim organization in America, and 75 chapters from across the country are expected to meet with hundreds of congressional offices. Its focus this year is on discussing threats to homeland security and refugee processing.

Emerging GOP Plan Would Replace Parts of Obamacare as It’s Repealed
Ryan, Walden, Brady present plan that includes provisions that are controversial among some Republicans

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters Thursday that legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would be announced after the Presidents Day recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Developing House Republican legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would also include replacement provisions that are controversial among the GOP rank and file, like a refundable tax credit to help individuals purchase insurance and a plan for dealing with Medicaid expansion.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on Thursday presented to the House Republican Conference their vision for a “repeal plus” bill that would undo most of the health care law and set up some pieces of a yet undeveloped Republican replacement. 

Ted Cruz Wants to Repeal Obamacare Now, Then Work Out Replacement Details
Texas Republican says they must 'honor the promise we've made to voters for six years running now'

Sen. Ted Cruz wants quick action on the Obamacare repeal bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even no with no consensus replacement for Obamacare in sight, Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing for action on the repeal long promised by Republicans.

“What I think is critical at the outset is that we honor the promise we've made to voters for six years running now to repeal Obamacare. We've had three elections — 2010, 2014 and 2016 — that were referenda on repealing Obamacare, and we need to honor that promise,” Cruz said. “Once Obamacare’s repealed, then we need common sense health care reform that expands choices, that lowers prices, and empowers patients to make their own health care decisions."

Is There a Reward at the End of the Democrats’ Long Slog?
Hard work is vital but results are not always easy to see

North Carolina NAACP President William J. Barber II is playing a prominent role in what has been called the ‘Moral Movement’ there, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The HKonJ protest this past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, may have been the largest such event, but it wasn’t the first time that thousands, with causes as diverse as the citizen-marchers themselves, showed up. For 11 years, with messages for both Republicans and Democrats, the faithful gathering at Historic Thousands on Jones Street have persisted. 

There is a lesson for the dissatisfied, new to activism, who are now crowding town halls and filling the streets: Victories may never come, or may be incremental, at best. Each goal accomplished could be followed by a setback.

Like Democrats Before Them, GOP Dismisses Town Hall Threat
There’s little data to gauge electoral threat protests pose for 2018

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen says he’ll be sticking with tele-town halls for the near future. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ask Republican lawmakers about the specter of protests in their districts next week, and they’ll likely shrug off constituent outbursts as “manufactured” or “scripted.” 

The GOP is largely adopting the Democratic posture from the summer of 2009 that angry voices at town halls don’t represent a political threat. That may be true. The question is how Republicans now, and Democrats back then, arrived at that conclusion. 

LGBT Staff Association Strives for More Diversity
New president Todd Sloves said the association has taken steps for Republicans to be comfortable

Todd Sloves, the new president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, says his group is hoping to diversify its ranks with more women, people of color and Republicans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Todd Sloves, the new president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, said only in a group like his would adding Republicans be considered part of a diversity effort.

“We are now starting to get into a time when LGBT folks come to work on the Hill — [they] are Republicans, are working for Republicans, and don’t feel like they have to keep that a secret,” said Sloves, 31. “Obviously, it’s a case-by-case basis but I think that’s a sign of the fact that we no longer put out this impression that we are a Democrats-only group.”

Conservatives Rally Around Their Own Health Care Plan
Obamacare replacement plan might make GOP consensus more difficult

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows speaks as South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford listens during the caucus’ news conference on Wednesday on health care law replacement legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Conservative Republicans on Wednesday staked out their position on a proposed replacement to the 2010 health care law. But their views are likely to muddle the path toward GOP consensus.

The House Freedom Caucus endorsed legislation authored by one of its members, Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.