John Barrasso

McConnell: ‘We’re Not Slowing Down’ on Obamacare Repeal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., heads to the Senate floor as he leaves the Senate Republicans' policy lunch on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BY ERIN MERSHON and JOE WILLIAMS, CQ Roll Call

This story originally appeared on CQ.com.

Trumpcare: Big Bills in Small Towns

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., right, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., conduct a news conference at the RNC where they discussed the House Republican's new healthcare plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, March 8, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In the southeast Georgia town of Statesboro, J. Wayne Collingsworth is fed up.

Collingsworth and his wife Kathy have watched their health insurance premiums jump from about $1,000 per month in 2015 to $1,550 per month this year. Last year the couple, who buy their insurance through HealthCare.gov, had to switch from a Humana plan they liked to a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia plan after their original insurer stopped selling coverage in their area. Their new plan also doesn’t pay for all the medications their previous insurer covered.

GOP OK With Trump Rally Delaying Labor Nominee
Tennessee event conflicted with confirmation hearing

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., talks with reporters before a GOP caucus luncheon. On Wednesday, he will join President Trump at a rally in Nashville. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Despite hammering Democrats for slowing Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominations, Senate Republicans don’t mind delaying a confirmation hearing this week so the president can rally the base on Wednesday and sell a Republican-crafted health care bill. 

But GOP sources were quick Monday to defend the delay of a Cabinet-level nominee’s hearing, saying replacing the 2010 health care law is equally important. The situation is the latest example of the bumpy ride many of the 45th president’s top nominees have had.

On Paper, Trump’s First 50 Days Resemble Previous Presidents’
But turbulence, including Obama claims, defined opening seven weeks

President Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Feb. 6 after spending the weekend in Florida. In many ways, his first 50 days match those of other recent presidents. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

On one hand, the first 50 days of Donald Trump’s presidency, in some ways, closely resemble those of his recent predecessors. But on the other, those similarities largely have been overshadowed by missteps and inflammatory tweets. 

A botched executive order temporarily banning many Muslims from entering the United States, allegations that former President Barack Obama tapped his phones, and an otherwise chaotic seven weeks have defined Trump’s first 50 days. But data reviewed by CQ Roll Call stretching back to the opening days of the Reagan administration shows Trump is off to a start much like several other recent commanders in chief.50Days-top-summary

Opinion: Obamacare Replacement Options — Lots of Promises, Few Facts
Republicans face a big gap between ‘possible’ and ‘feasible’

MARCH 7: Vice President Mike Pence conducts a news conference after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol where he made remarks on the House Republican’s new health care plan, March 7, 2017. Also appearing are, from left, Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S.D., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There’s a difference between “possible” and “feasible,” and the difference comes down to one word: Money. 

“Is it possible to put a window in that wall?” I once asked a contractor friend about my darkish dining room. “Anything is possible,” he said. “But is it feasible? How much do you want to spend?” (I skipped the window.)

Senators Ask White House: Where Are the Nominees?
Vice President assures GOP lawmakers names are coming

Rod Rosenstein, nominee for deputy attorney general, and Rachel L. Brand, nominee for associate attorney general, faced the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators are eager to continue pushing through President Donald Trump’s executive branch nominees, but they are increasingly concerned about the slow pace of nominations being sent to the Capitol for the people who will be tasked with much of the nitty-gritty work of government. 

“I continue to ask for additional names to come forward, and I’m assured that they will be soon,” Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Barrasso said Tuesday.

The Regular Order Revue on House GOP Obamacare Bill
Signs from Republicans indicate deviation from transparency promises

Vice President Mike Pence conducts a news conference at the Capitol on Tuesday. Also appearing are, from left, Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, John Barrasso of Wyoming, John Thune of South Dakota, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican lawmakers scrambled on Tuesday to explain their health care plan and how they will move it quickly through Congress, but Democrats and even some GOP members accused leaders of rushing through the process and jeopardizing Republican promises to move through regular order.

Lawmakers have one month before they are scheduled to leave for recess on April 7, and GOP leaders hope to pass legislation undoing the 2010 health care law before Congress heads out of town. House committees are marking up the legislation this week, though it’s not clear whether the bill will go through Senate committees or go straight to the Senate floor.

Trump’s Plan Needs Mechanism to Steer Money to Infrastructure

U.S. Highway 14 in Minnesota. (Doug Kerr/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Congressional Republicans have been reluctant to comment on — or even work on — legislation to deliver on President Donald Trump’s pledge to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure over 10 years. 

Lawmakers say they’re waiting for the administration to provide details of a proposal that has raised more questions than it answered. Among the questions is how Trump would entice investors to put more than $150 billion in equity into infrastructure projects.

Word on the Hill: How Would D.C. Fare in Trade War With Mexico?
A great place to take a nap

D.C. has the least amount of imports from Mexico as a percentage of total imports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Except for Alaska, the District of Columbia would be least affected by the economic fallout of a trade war with Mexico, a new study shows.

The most affected states would be Texas, Arizona, and Michigan, according to the WalletHub study. D.C. ranked 50th, just ahead of Alaska.

Travel Ban Fuels Slowdown of Trump Nominees
Democrats call on Cabinet picks to take positions on executive order

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer attempted to delay a vote on Rex Tillerson’s nomination to be secretary of State over President Donald Trump’s executive order. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats are willing to drag out Senate consideration of Cabinet nominees over President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order, and they wasted no time doing so as the week began. 

On Monday afternoon, Democrats objected to a request for committees to meet two hours after the Senate convened, a routine unanimous request that typically sails through with nary a whisper of dissent. Blocking the daily procedure showed Democrats were stepping up their slowdown efforts.