Medicaid

Congress Set for Horse-Trading Over Must-Pass Bills in September
“Clean” debt limit increase will likely require Democrats’ support

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker said a clean debt ceiling increase appears unlikely to pass without “more more increased spending and must-pass legislation to attract the necessary votes.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress’ September agenda is packed with several must-pass bills that Republicans and Democrats are likely to look to as leverage for extracting concessions on other priorities.

With a short legislative calendar next month — only 12 days when both chambers are scheduled to be in session (the Senate has a few extra days on its timetable) — some measures could be packaged together, creating even more leverage and risk. 

Opinion: ‘Medicare for All’ Is the New ‘Repeal and Replace’
Why Democrats may be in danger of repeating the GOP’s mistake

The fine print on “Medicare for All” is much more complex than some Democrats make it out to be, Murphy writes. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images file photo)

Even before the horrible events in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, President Donald Trump was having a bad August.

He had already single-handedly escalated tensions with North Korea to the point that a nuclear strike suddenly seemed like a possibility for the first time in many Americans’ lifetimes.

Opinion: Why HELP Could Be on the Way for Obamacare Recipients
Hopeful signs of bipartisan consensus on fixing health care markets

Senate HELP Committee leaders Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray could help spear bipartisan consensus in Congress for a short-term fix for Americans struggling to afford health insurance, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lamar Alexander had barely announced his plans to hold hearings next month on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on stabilizing the insurance markets for Obamacare when the idea started getting panned.

Keep in mind there are no specific hearings scheduled yet, no witnesses, no bill written, and few parameters of what is on or off the table. Alexander, the committee chairman, has only said that he wants a final product to be “small, bipartisan, and balanced,” but he hasn’t said what that means, other than flexibility for states and short-term triage for the exchanges.

Opinion: GOP Tax Dilemma — Somebody’s Got to Pay More
There’s a reason tax reform doesn’t happen often

South Dakota Sen. John Thune believes that traditional budget scorekeeping underestimates the dynamic effects of tax cuts on the economy, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Any deduction you look at in the tax code has a constituency behind it,” John Thune said last week as we chatted about taxes in his Senate office. “If you are going to do tax reform that is revenue-neutral … that means that you have to kill some deductions or scale them back.”

Too often Republican oratory depicts tax reform as across-the-board rate reductions where everyone wins and nobody loses. It is like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon — “where all the children are above average” — but a lot richer.

Bipartisan Health Care Work Taking Shape in Senate
Finance, HELP committees plan hearings after recess

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, right, and ranking member Ron Wyden of Oregon will preside over health care hearings in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Finance Committee is set to hold September hearings on proposals for overhauling federal health care policies, including a plan for reauthorizing a program that serves about 5.7 million children, according to Chairman Orrin G. Hatch announced Thursday.

The Finance panel is taking the same approach as the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which also announced plans for bipartisan work after Republicans failed last week to advance a partisan measure to roll back much of the Democrats’ 2010 health care law. The HELP Committee plans to hold hearings the first week of September, after returning from the August recess.

At the Races: Royce Challenger Gives Himself $2 Million Head Start
First woman Marine combat pilot challenges Barr in Kentucky; former Obama ambassador running in Colorado

California insurance executive Andy Thorburn kicked off his challenge to Republican Rep. Ed Royce with a $2 million loan to his campaign. (Andy Thorburn for Congress)

A new Democratic challenger to California Republican Rep. Ed Royce is kicking off his candidacy by pumping $2 million into his campaign and an ad with him being sent to jail.

Insurance executive Andy Thorburn released a video Tuesday announcing he would challenge Royce and that he is willing to use his personal wealth to back up his campaign. Thorburn told the Los Angeles Times that he had deferred running for office because of the difficulty of balancing campaigning and running his business, but the election of President Donald Trump changed that.

White House Opioid Panel Pushes Access to Treatment

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, whose state of West Virginia has been ravaged by opiods, says more needs to be done to address the crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An advisory commission is urging President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency with regard to opioid abuse and addiction, among other recommendations to address a crisis that is claiming upward of 30,000 lives every year.

An emergency declaration “would empower your Cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding,” said a new draft report from the White House circulated on Monday.

What’s Next for Dean Heller After Health Care Votes?
Nevada lawmaker is the most vulnerable GOP senator

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller makes his way to the Senate chamber for a series of votes on repealing the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Dean Heller’s vote to support a bill to repeal the 2010 health care law — while rejecting others — may make an already tough re-election campaign even harder.

The Nevada Republican was already facing pressure from voters on the left and the right, his own party’s leadership and the White House going into last week’s Senate health care votes. That’s not all going away just because the votes are over.

Poll: Americans Want to Move On From Obamacare Repeal
Reuters/Ipsos poll shows support for health law splits down party lines

A new Retuers/Ipsos poll found that only 29 percent of Americans said health care reform was their top priority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A majority of Americans want members of Congress to ditch health care reform efforts and focus their attention elsewhere, according to a Reuters/Iposos poll conducted after the Senate Republicans’ effort crashed early Friday.

The new poll shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans want to keep the 2010 health care law, either “entirely as is” or after reforming “problem areas.” This was an increase from January, when just over half of Americans agreed with that sentiment.

Protesters Hold a Mock Duel With Farenthold
Comes after he implied he wanted to challenge senators to a duel

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, told protesters that he had a prior commitment and couldn’t attend Sunday’s event. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

Protesters showed up to Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold’s office in Corpus Christi to take him up on his offer last week to challenge women senators to a duel.

Last week, Farenthold told radio station KEYS it was “absolutely repugnant” that “some female senators from the Northeast” were holding up Republican attempts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.