John Barrasso

White House Talks Tax Outreach, but Senators Guarded
Legislative director outlines ambitious timetable

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short, left, here with Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso last week, has hopes for a bipartisan tax overhaul effort. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll)

The White House sees Democrats up for re-election in states President Donald Trump won as possible partners in their effort to overhaul the tax code, but Senate Republicans appear less optimistic about the chances of a bipartisan bill.

White House legislative director Marc Short said Monday the White House is not wed to using the often partisan reconciliation process to advance a tax overhaul, though senators were hesitant to rule out that procedural tool.

Photos of the Week: A Health Care Bill Stalemate Hits D.C. Amid Heat Wave
The week of July 17 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

On Monday, U.S. Capitol Police officers prepare to arrest several demonstrators protesting the GOP health care legislation in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. Dozens of protesters chanted during the demonstration before police cleared the atrium. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS

The week of July 17 began with health care negotiations in the Senate, amid protests in the hallways of the Senate office buildings, and is coming to an end with an essentially stalled process on a new health care bill in the chamber. The Republican effort to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature law continued to be the focus of Congress watchers on the Hill this week.

Word on the Hill: Capitol Hill Reality Show Casting Call
Congressional tennis roster update and brunch plans

A reality show is seeking staffers from both parties. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There’s a casting call next week for Capitol Hill staffers for a new reality show about working in Congress.

The posting on Brad Traverse Jobs reads: 

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

Protests continued around Capitol Hill this week as Senate Republicans attempt a last-ditch effort to save their legislation to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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’

Arizona Sen. John McCain’s brain tumor diagnosis puts greater stress on the Senate’s already strained health care efforts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

'Clean Coal' Tax Credit Gets a New Bipartisan Push in Senate

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has teamed up with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., to push for tax credits for the so-called clean coal technology. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As investors give up on a Mississippi carbon-capture coal plant and the Trump administration continues to push for “beautiful clean coal,” a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday reintroduced a bill to expand a tax credit in hopes of spurring investment in the costly technology.

The measure, with co-sponsors ranging from climate hawk Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., to coal-state stalwart Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., would extend and enhance a tax credit, known as Section 45Q, that rewards facilities that capture carbon emissions for either storage or enhanced oil recovery purposes.

EPA Inhofe Alumni Group Closer to Expanding

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has seen a number of former staffers head to the EPA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump’s nominations for an assistant EPA administrator and two members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were advanced Wednesday by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Lawmakers on the panel voted, 11-10, to move forward with the nomination of Susan Bodine to become the EPA’s assistant administrator of enforcement and compliance assurance. The Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance enforces EPA’s rules and oversees the agency’s environmental justice and compliance.

Podcast: McConnell’s Health Care Seesaw
The Big Story, Episode 60

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., after announcing there would be no vote on the health care bill this week. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate majority leader hasn’t abandoned hope of finding 50 votes for the year’s top GOP priority. But postponement over the July Fourth break won’t make it easier to bridge the gap between those focused on Obamacare’s repeal and those worried about too stingy a replacement, Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski and David Hawkings explain.

Show Notes:

Republican Opposition to Health Care Bill Mounts
McConnell’s margins appear to be slipping

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., conclude a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheon in the Capitol on June 27, 2017, where McConnell told senators there would be no vote on the health care bill this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY JOE WILLIAMS and NIELS LESNIEWSKI

Republican opposition to legislation to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system grew after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chose to delay a vote on the measure until after the upcoming Fourth of July recess, a sign of the challenges GOP leadership faces in crafting legislation with support solely from their own party.