Mark Walker

How The GOP’s Health Care Law Went Down
A play-by-play of one of the most momentous days in Trump’s presidency

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., approaches the podium to make a statement and take questions from reporters after he pulled the Republican bill to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It was a nail-biter of a day with a photo finish.

The Republican Party’s seven-year effort to repeal the 2010 health care law ended with a thud Friday when the GOP decided not to even subject its do-or-die alternative to a vote.

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.

Key Conservatives Come Around on GOP Health Plan
Republican Study Committee leaders sign off, but Freedom Caucus still wary

Walker and several members of the Republican Study Committee voiced their support for the GOP health plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By JOHN T. BENNETT And LINDSEY McPHERSON, CQ ROLL CALL

Several key Republicans on Friday endorsed the health care overhaul bill crafted by GOP leaders and the White House, saying President Donald Trump had agreed to changes they favored minutes earlier during an Oval Office meeting. With a vote on the so-called American Health Care Act scheduled for this coming Thursday in the House, the news was welcomed by supporters of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law.

Road to House GOP Health Plan Passage Still Uncertain
Budget Committee considers measure, but changes await

Pence has been a constant presence at the Capitol during the health care debate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN CQ Roll Call

Two of the strongest proponents for the House Republican plan to remake the health care system, Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said Wednesday they were open to changes to secure floor passage.

Paul Ryan Returns to ‘Binary Choice’ Rhetoric
Speaker used same phrase to argue for Trump presidency

Ryan argues that the current GOP health care plan is a “binary choice,” echoing his arguments that Trump should be president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is selling the Republicans’ health care bill the same way he did the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. But on the health front, his pitch is falling flat with conservatives.

“Binary choice” is the phrase the Wisconsin Republican used during the presidential election to describe his reason for supporting Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Ryan acknowledged throughout the campaign that both candidates were flawed but Trump was the better of two options, the only one who would help Republicans advance their legislative agenda.

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.

House GOP Moving Toward Health Care Markup Despite Unresolved Concerns
Republicans say it’s a way to break through the impasse

House Republicans plan to begin moving a health care bill through the legislative process despite lingering concerns among many members. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans hope to start marking up a bill to repeal and partially replace the 2010 health care law next week, despite a litany of concerns about the plan. But proceeding with the legislative process is one way members say they can break through the impasse. 

Lawmakers with concerns about the plan range from conservatives, who view the refundable tax credits that are designed to help people purchase coverage in the private market as the creation of a new entitlement program, to moderates from states that have expanded Medicaid, who worry the plan won’t provide enough funding needed to sustain coverage provided through that program.

In Joint Address, Trump Offers Congress Few Policy Details
President’s legislative objectives receive prime time stage, little specifics

Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night at the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump laid out a sweeping legislative agenda in his first address before a joint session of Congress, but he faces battle after battle to enact it — many with members of his own party.

The 45th president, addressing lawmakers at the start of just his sixth full week in office, spoke in his familiar brusque and clipped cadence, a stark contrast to the oratory style of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who often mixed professorial lectures with prose that highlighted his self-described “writer’s sensibility.” On the other hand, Trump’s address was chock full of the pithy and blunt phraseology that helped him win the White House.

GOP Leaders Brought Big League Policy Differences to Trump Speech
Health care, spending top issues in dispute

From left, Sen. Cory Gardner , McConnell Sen. John Thune and Cornyn fielded questions about White House policy on Tuesday after the Senate Policy luncheons. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hours before President Donald Trump delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress, Republican leaders went about the normal business of the congressional workweek, keeping their scheduled media availabilities and playing down differences among their own members and the administration on big-ticket policy items like health care and government spending levels. 

“I feel at the end of the day, when we get everything done and right, we’re going to be unified on this,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday morning. The Wisconsin Republican was responding to questions about two top conservatives — House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker — who announced the previous day they could not support a draft GOP leadership plan to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

Top Conservatives Oppose GOP Health Care Plan, Muddying Path to Needed Votes
Members express optimism that consensus can be reached in the coming weeks

Meadows, center, and his conservative colleagues have expressed opposition to a House GOP plan to provide refundable tax credits to help individuals purchase insurance. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top two House conservatives on Monday said they cannot vote for their conference’s health care repeal and partial replacement plan in its current form, meaning House GOP leaders have some work to do before they can offer a bill that will get the 218 votes needed to pass the House.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows both cited concerns over the plan’s refundable tax credits, saying it amounts to the creation of a new entitlement program. The North Carolina Republicans said that several of their conservative colleagues feel the same way and predicted that the plan could not pass the House in its current form.