Lamar Alexander

GOP Grapples With Path Forward for Health Care Plan
Some senators are clamoring for changes to the House bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, says his chamber will consider whatever the House comes up with on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans grappled Tuesday with how to advance their health care proposal following a report from the Congressional Budget Office that the plan would dramatically increase the number of uninsured Americans.

House lawmakers had more time to digest the report thanks to a winter storm that delayed their schedule. But senators trudged through the slush and snow to the Capitol, where they faced questions about the CBO report that said the GOP plan would lead to 24 million more people uninsured by 2026, and reduce the deficit by $337 billion over 10 years.

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.

Senators Cranky About Appropriations Process
Little appetite for another continuing resolution

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had spoken against punting on appropriations bills last fall with a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“I will never vote for a CR again.”

That was all the normally talkative Sen. Lindsey Graham cared to say when asked about the prospect of completing his State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill this year, or, as has become custom, funding that part of the government through another continuing resolution. The South Carolina Republican wants to create a new account to help countries in Eastern Europe battle Russian propaganda, something that wouldn’t happen if spending is just put on auto-pilot through a CR. 

Cabinet-Level Nominees Play the Waiting Game
Politics, paperwork and holdings slowing things down

Four Cabinet-level nominees remain to be confirmed. Clockwise from top left, Dan Coats for director of national intelligence, Alexander Acosta for secretary of Labor, Robert Lighthizer for U.S. trade representative and Sonny Perdue for secretary of Agriculture. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call, Alan Diaz/AP, Chambersandpartners.com, Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Farm groups thought they’d have a new Agriculture secretary by now after a long wait to find out who would be the nominee. But they’re growing anxious again over the delayed confirmation of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. 

President Donald Trump has accused Democrats of keeping him from filling his Cabinet, but Perdue’s nomination appears to be on hold because the Senate Agriculture Committee has yet to receive his paperwork.

House GOP Obamacare Repeal Bill Courts Detractors
Measure seeks to address member concerns on tax credits, Medicaid

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Republicans are moving forward with plans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law by releasing their long-awaited bill Monday evening. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans on Monday released long-awaited legislation to repeal and partially replace the 2010 health care law, which has evolved to accommodate various concerns raised about leaked drafts of the bill.

The measure, however, does not have a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, longstanding practice to evaluate the effects of such legislation. The House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees are scheduled to mark up their portions of the legislation on Wednesday without the CBO score.

House Moves on Obamacare, Spending Bills While Senate Waits
The Senate will be focused on undoing Obama-era regulations

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore. may oversee a markup of the GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By REMA RAHMAN and BRIDGET BOWMAN, CQ ROLL CALL

The public will get its first look at House Republicans’ bill to repeal and partially replace the 2010 health care law likely early this week, but timing on committee markups of the legislation is unclear. 

New Pro-Obamacare Ad Features Trump Voter
Ad to run in Tennessee, home to key GOP senator

The new ad features a Trump voter. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A campaign encouraging lawmakers not to repeal the 2010 health care law will launch two new television ads, one featuring a man who voted for President Donald Trump.

The ads are part of a “six figure” ad buy from the “Save My Care” campaign that will run in Ohio and Tennessee, according to an advance copy of the press release announcing the ads. Tennessee is home to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, a key player in the Obamacare debate.

Health Coverage Questions Persist for Republicans
Chances of House GOP blueprint passing the Senate remain unclear

Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters the House GOP health care measure will be introduced after the Presidents Day recess but it might face opposition from Republicans in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Republican lawmakers face questions from constituents and colleagues about their plans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, there are few answers available, starting with what kind of legislation can pass the Senate. 

Republicans do not need Democratic support to undo much of the law, since they will move the legislation through the budget reconciliation process that only requires majority support in the Senate. But with only 52 Republican senators, the GOP plan will have to get support from both their conservatives and moderates, and it’s not clear what can get everyone onboard.

One Thing Congress Agrees On: Vaccines Work
They said lawmakers should support the use of vaccines

From left, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., at a HELP hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are stressing the need to highlight benefits of vaccines amid reports of local outbreaks of infectious diseases.

“The science is clear: FDA-licensed vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and save the lives both of those who receive them and vulnerable individuals around them,” the lawmakers wrote in a Tuesday letter sent to their colleagues. “As Members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly diseases.”

Puzder Is First Trump Nominee Spiked by GOP
Votes just weren’t there for fast-food tycoon

Andrew Puzder, left was the first of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to not get enough Republican votes for confirmation. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The withdrawal of Andrew Puzder’s nomination to be Labor secretary represents a milestone in the nascent Trump administration: the first time congressional Republicans played a significant part in spiking a Donald Trump Cabinet pick. 

The nomination of the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains, had been plagued by scandal, including revelations he had employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper and failed to pay taxes on her, as well as the fallout from a 1987 divorce that brought up allegations of domestic violence against him.