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Rubio Continues Assault on Trump Over KKK Remarks

   

ALCOA, Tenn. — Sen. Marco Rubio continued a series of raucous rallies ahead of Super Tuesday with an updated attack on front-runner Donald Trump for his failure to disavow white supremacist groups supporting him.  

Alexander Says 'Step-By-Step' Process Only Way to Change Obamacare

Alexander arrives in the basement of the U.S. Capitol for the weekly luncheons Tuesday. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

The way to change Obamacare in the coming years will be through bipartisan adjustments, one of the Senate GOP leaders on health policy said Thursday.  

"I think over the next four or five years it'll be changed step-by-step toward a health care system with more freedom for people to find policies, more choices and hopefully lower prices," Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said Thursday when asked about the future of the health care law.  

Gun Control Debate Stuck on Mental Health Reform

Murphy is one of the Democrats out in front on mental health legislation. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At first glance Democrats seem to oppose mental health reform in response to mass shootings. Many in the Senate say they embrace such reform, but they'd rather close loopholes in gun laws first. The result, however, is no movement on either gun control or mental health.  

Democrats used much of Thursday's Obamacare repeal vote-a-rama to push gun control amendments in response to a spate of mass shootings. Most of those measures didn’t have a lot to do with mental health. Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., one of the most outspoken advocates of gun control following the murder of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, is working with Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., to increase funding to states t hat meet treatment goals .  

Senate Seeks Bipartisanship in Rules Overhaul

Sen. Patty Murray, from left, Schumer and Reid after the Democratic policy luncheon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Schumer is upbeat that the Senate's rules will be tweaked by the time he's expected to become Democratic leader in 2017 — regardless of which leadership job that becomes.  

But for any rules change plan to advance, the New York Democrat says it will have to be bipartisan and need a two-thirds vote. Both sides agree the "nuclear option" won't be used to implement adjustments in how the Senate takes up legislation.  

Appropriations Bills Face Democratic Roadblock

Moran's among the Republican appropriators eager to see bills on the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It might be too early to put the nail in the coffin of the fiscal 2016 appropriations process, but get your hammer ready.  

After the Senate Appropriations Committee met for its first full committee markup shortly before the Memorial Day break, Democrats made clear they will try and block any effort to pass the bills until a budget deal is reached allowing them to spend more money.  

Bipartisanship on Display on No Child Left Behind Replacement Effort

Alexander, seen here, and Murray may have a way forward on an education bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress has no shortage of trouble moving big-ticket legislation, so it might be preposterous to think the Senate can move forward on replacing the education law known most recently as No Child Left Behind.  

But, the Senate might have the right partners to pull it off. Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced an agreement over the recess, and they're moving full-speed ahead with a Tuesday markup.  

Senate Returns to an Immediate 'Doc Fix' Deadline

The Senate is facing a post-recess time crunch on the 'doc fix.' (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lawmakers will already be facing a time crunch when the Senate returns Monday.  

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been withholding payments to doctors treating Medicare patients to give Congress a window to work through a long-term resolution to the Sustainable Growth Rate problem that sees physicians regularly facing draconian cuts in payment rates without a patch known as a "doc fix."  

Harkin's HELP Committee Shows Off the Lost Art of Legislating

Alexander, left, and Harkin have racked up legislative victories on the HELP Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ask Sen. Tom Harkin about his committee's work this Congress and he's ready to rattle off a key statistic.  

"Fourteen bills. More than any other committee in the Congress. Fourteen bills signed into law."