John Cornyn

The ‘Wait and See’ Caucus vs. the ‘Not Yet’ Quartet
Republicans show wide range of reaction to health care draft

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was one of four Republican senators who said he wouldn’t support the current Senate health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The divisions among Senate Republicans on their health care bill to change the U.S. health insurance system can be summed up as the interests of the “Wait and See” caucus versus the “Not Yet” quartet.

Four members on Thursday, just hours after the text of the draft was posted online, said they are “not yet ready” to vote for the proposal that would make significant changes to the Medicaid program and alter some aspects of the current health care law.

Now vs. Then: Senate Republicans on Health Care Overhaul
Some singing same song, others flip flop

A group of 13 Senate Republicans worked on the health care overhaul bill released Thursday. From left, Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas on June 6, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Prior to the release of Senate legislation to overhaul U.S. health care Thursday, Democrats took aim at Republican leadership for crafting a bill largely behind closed doors.

Seven years ago, roles were reversed as Senate Republicans railed against Democrats for a lack of transparency in the passage of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. 

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.

McConnell Expects Health Care Draft By Thursday
Trump calls for bill with ‘heart’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, conduct a news conference after the Senate Policy Luncheons on June 6, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed he expects to have a “discussion draft” of legislation to roll back the 2010 health care law available Thursday.

McConnell said the public will “have plenty of time” to review the discussion draft. While he didn’t specify how long the GOP will give for the public to review the language, under the reconciliation rules it appears there will be about a week.

Vague Signs of Movement on GOP Health Care Measure
Legislative text could be available within days

Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Cory Booker of New Jersey take a selfie before a meeting with CBO Director Keith Hall in Ford Building where they asked for a copy of the Republicans' health care bill score. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators returned to work on Tuesday in an escalating atmosphere of uncertainty about legislation to alter the U.S. health insurance system, with outstanding questions about the measure’s timing, cost and even the chamber’s committee schedule.

Before the Senate gaveled in, Democrats signaled they would invoke the so-called two-hour rule that restricts the time and duration of committee meetings. The upshot is that panels that meeting in the morning would largely be cut off after two hours, and any hearings scheduled to take place in the afternoon would be rescheduled.

Congressional Security Details Remain Murky
‘Over the past two and a half years, I’ve built a special bond with each of them’

A Capitol Police officer keeps an eye on the Republicans’ baseball practice from the dugout at Four Mile Run Park in Alexandria, Va., in June 2015. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

The special agents who protect congressional leaders are a constant, anomalous presence in the Capitol, a suit-wearing, grim-visaged, hand gun-carrying force that follows at least the top nine members of the federal legislative branch as they travel to, from and in Washington and their home districts or states. They have the same duties as their counterparts in the executive branch, the Secret Service, and none of the publicity.

But in extraordinary circumstances — such as the Flag Day shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, along with a current and a former staffer — details about their work flash into public view.

Analysis: No Signs Baseball Shooting Will Change Hill’s Ways
Partisanship will prove stronger than promises of unity after House’s No. 3 GOP leader gravely wounded

Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Val B. Demings of Florida leave a congressional meeting about Wednesday’s shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Don’t expect the congressional baseball practice shooting to change anything. Not the venomous partisanship that defines life at the Capitol. Not the public’s dismal opinion of the people they’ve sent to Washington. And certainly not the polarized impasse on gun control.

The torrent of words presaging something different began minutes after the shooting stopped Wednesday morning at the Republicans’ suburban practice field, with the third ranking leader of the House majority and four others grievously wounded. Across town, the Democrats halted their own early morning workout to huddle in prayer for their GOP colleagues. Groups advocating for tighter federal restrictions on firearms asserted hopefully that this time, the debate would shift in their favor.

Baseball Shooting Raises Lawmaker Protection Questions
Incident prompts discussion of security at practices and the Capitol

Alexandria Police line the street with police tape across the street from Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Va., where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot during baseball practice. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress know they could be targets of violence, but they didn’t see it coming at their early morning practice for the Congressional Baseball Game.

“It was absolutely a safe space. We get up at 5:30 in the morning, just to go play baseball,” said Rep. Mike Bishop. “It does rattle your sense of what’s safe and what isn’t.”

Republicans Weigh Higher Medicaid Growth Rate for Some States

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, right, says Medicaid is among the big outstanding issues for the health care talks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By Joe Williams and Kerry Young, CQ Roll Call

Senate Republicans may provide higher federal funding to states with low Medicaid costs in their health care bill. The proposal under consideration gets to the heart of a key sticking point in the ongoing GOP discussions to overhaul the U.S. health care system: how to equitably treat states with drastically different Medicaid spending levels.