Maine

Opinion: The GOP’s Big Health Care Winner — Mitch McConnell
House in flames but crisis avoided in the Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remains untarnished by the GOP effort to repeal the 2010 health care law, Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s exactly one big winner in the Republican leadership right now: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

The Kentucky Republican, long known for his sixth-sense acumen as a political and legislative strategist, completely avoided the direct and collateral damage of the GOP health care debacle of 2017.

Senators Working the Ref Already on Health Care Bill
Parliamentarian rulings could make or break GOP legislation

Sen. Bill Cassidy is among the senators looking to make sure any health legislation or amendments will comply with the Senate’s procedural rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As House Republicans struggle to cobble together the votes to pass legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, members are already looking to navigate the Senate’s labyrinth of procedural rules that could make or break the measure. 

Senate Democrats are already setting up for the battle with the parliamentarian about which provisions could run up against the Byrd Rule, which requires budget reconciliation bills that can pass with a simple-majority vote to be primarily about spending and revenues, without extraneous matter.

GOP Bill Takes Aim at Long-Shot Medicaid Expansion Hopes
Provision is a blow to efforts in North Carolina and Kansas

North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson said the GOP provision was partially put in to benefit Republican governors who wanted to avoid political pressure to expand their own states’ entitlement programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans in North Carolina and Kansas who hope to scale back Medicaid can claim a victory in the updated GOP plan to overhaul the 2010 health care law. The package takes aim at those two states, which had the highest — albeit long-shot — hopes of expanding their Medicaid programs this year.

The provision, included in a manager’s amendment to the bill released by House leaders on Monday, would prevent states from expanding their Medicaid programs if they didn’t already do so by March 1.

Bipartisan Road Trip Arrives at the Capitol Just in Time for Votes
Reps. Will Hurd and Beto O'Rourke completed the trip from Texas

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, left, and Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, walk up the House steps at the Capitol just in time for votes on on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Forty minutes before a House vote on Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Republican Rep. Will Hurd pulled up to the House steps, making the completion of their bipartisan road trip.

The two Texas congressmen decided to road trip together from San Antonio to Washington, D.C., after the East Coast’s winter storm caused flight cancellations earlier in the week. The more than 24-hour trip, which included several stops and a few hours for sleep, ended with a tight arrival to work.

Women’s History Month Update on a Women’s Museum
Advocates say they are ‘closer than ever’ to making museum a reality

Joan Wages, left, and Susan Whiting are shown at a brunch for the the National Women’s History Museum in 2015. (Courtesy National Women’s History Museum)

Here is your Women’s History Month reminder that a National Women’s History Museum for the National Mall is still in the works. 

Just more than 20 years since the organization to build the museum was founded, there is a congressional commission to study its creation and a team of people ready to follow through if it gets greenlighted.

Conservatives Take Shots at Independent-Minded GOP Senators
Activists worry party mavericks could upend health care repeal efforts

Maine Sen. Susan Collins has often found herself at odds with conservative groups. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Activist groups that want conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill have aimed their fire previously at Republicans including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his predecessor, John A. Boehner. Now they have some new targets. 

Their focus has turned to three senators who’ve shown some willingness to challenge President Donald Trump: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona.

CBO: Lower Deficit, More Uninsured Under House Health Plan
Nonpartisan budget scorekeepers predict savings, uninsured would grow

Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy have been pushing their health plan hard. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:37 p.m. | The House Republican leadership’s legislation to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over a decade while increasing the number of uninsured by 24 million people by 2026, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday.

The nonpartisan budget scorekeepers predicted that under the House GOP plan — which was scheduled for consideration by the House Budget Committee on Thursday to be packaged as a reconciliation bill that would only require a majority to pass in the Senate —  the biggest savings would come as a result of decreased funding to Medicaid and cutting off subsidies for individuals to purchase insurance on the health care exchanges. It would also lower average premiums enough to stabilize the individual health insurance market, according to the “score” of the legislation.

Conservatives Outline Wishlist for GOP Health Plan Changes
Among asks is an accelerated freeze on Medicaid enrollment

Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., left, and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-N.J., talk during a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of a bill to repeal and replace the the Affordable Care Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House conservatives have outlined changes they’d like to see in the health care measure currently moving through the chamber, including an accelerated freeze of Medicaid expansion enrollment and at least a partial reduction in the refundable portion of the tax credits proposed to help individuals buy health insurance.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker said his group is asking for the enrollment freeze for the Medicaid expansion program to begin sometime in the current 115th Congress. The bill currently proposes that the enrollment freeze begin in 2020, halfway through the 116th Congress.

Connolly Intern Sows Father’s Seeds of Peace for Gaza
Yousef Bashir has faith in a peaceful solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Yousef Bashir, a Gaza native, is an intern in Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly’s office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The future president of a Palestinian state might be working as an intern in Democratic Rep. Gerald E. Connolly’s office. 

“No pressure, huh?” Yousef Bashir replies to the Virginia lawmaker’s assertion about his future and the two laugh.

Nadler Faces Uphill Battle in Seeking Trump Financial Data
Judiciary Republicans set to block New York Democrat’s resolution

New York Rep. Jerrod Nadler says his resolution seeks to explore President Donald Trump’s “business entanglements and ties to Russia.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A partisan showdown over President Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest is set for the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, as Democrats led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York push for a vote on his resolution that would require the Justice Department to release documents about Trump’s financial practices. 

The measure set for markup, known as a resolution of inquiry, is likely to be blocked by Republicans, given their 23-17 advantage on the committee, and to be passed over for a floor vote. But it would again put lawmakers on record about Trump in the same way that Ways and Means Democrats pushed unsuccessfully to get the president’s tax returns released.