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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.

Opinion: Art as Soul Food – A Tough Yet Essential Case to Make
President Trump’s proposed budget cuts are ill-advised

Funding for humanities programs, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, is only a fraction of the federal budget and should not be cut, Curtis writes. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Most critics expressing outrage at President Donald Trump’s proposed budget have focused on cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program that funnels money to Meals on Wheels. And who can blame them? 

If you’re looking for allies for your cause, that’s the narrative you want — one that sets up clear-cut heroes and villains, especially with budget director Mick Mulvaney, sent from central casting and all but twirling a mustache as he says, “We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” or “There’s no demonstrable evidence” that after-school programs that also feed children are actually “helping kids do better at school.”

Republican Members Opposed to GOP Health Care Bill
If the tally stands, it's enough to sink bill on House floor

Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, has led the charge to oppose the bill as unveiled by GOP leaders. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

CQ Roll Call has confirmed the following members as “no” votes on the American Health Care Act, absent further changes. If this tally stands on the floor, the bill will fail.

Late Wednesday, members of the House Freedom Caucus suggested negotiations with the White House were under way to make changes to the bill that would appease its members. No details of any deal were discussed by members leaving a meeting.

Trump Claims Vindication on Surveillance News
But information was collected legally, according to top Republican

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, makes his way from the committee’s offices to the microphones to hold a news conference in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump expressed a sense of vindication Wednesday after House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said that Trump campaign associates may have been caught up in a surveillance net.

“I somewhat do. I must tell you I somewhat do. I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found, I somewhat do,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Chris Collins Advocates Retribution for Recalcitrant Republicans
Trump ally says those voting against health plan should lose plum assignments, cash

Rep. Chris Collins has revenge on his mind if the House Freedom Caucus sinks the GOP health plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If House Freedom Caucus members sink the GOP leadership’s health care bill Thursday, they should be stripped of plum committee assignments and denied access to campaign committee resources, Rep. Chris Collins told reporters Wednesday.

“If this goes down, they’re not on our team,” the New York Republican said.

Cuomo: Health Care Amendment ‘Declared War on New York’
Collins-Faso amendment would prevent counties from shouldering Medicaid costs

A new amendment by Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said the amendment that he and Rep. John Faso offered is meant to take the burden off property tax payers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An amendment by New York Reps. Chris Collins and John Faso to the health care bill the House is to vote on Thursday is a declaration of war against the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The proposal by upstate Republicans Collins and Faso would prevent New York counties from shouldering the cost of Medicaid, leaving the responsibility to the state alone, New York media outlets reported.

Battle of Wills Over Health Care Bill
Absent a deal, Trump and GOP leaders or Freedom Caucus will lose face in Thursday’s vote

President Donald Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price met with the House Republican Conference on Tuesday in the Capitol, where Trump called on Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and his group to get on board with the GOP health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The GOP health care debate has quickly become a battle of wills between the House Freedom Caucus and Republican leadership in the House and White House. And if the vote proceeds as planned on Thursday without changes to the bill, it will be a battle over reputations.

Absent a compromise between the conservative caucus and House leadership and/or the President Donald Trump and his administration, one of the two sides will emerge from Thursday’s vote significantly scathed.

Appreciation | Jimmy Breslin and the Art of Describing Washington
Book by New York newspaperman is an invaluable portrayal of Capitol Hill

Jimmy Breslin found his muse in the late Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, above, whom he portrayed in his book “How the Good Guys Finally Won” as a consummate professional. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jimmy Breslin will always be remembered as a New York newspaperman. But he also made an indelible contribution to documenting the Watergate scandal and in doing so, breathed life into some of Capitol Hill’s most influential characters. 

The hard-boiled columnist, who died March 19 at the age of 88, brought the full force of his observational skills to his 1975 book “How the Good Guys Finally Won.” Breslin made a career out of focusing on big stories through the perspective of working stiffs, so it’s no surprise he latched on to two methodical House Democrats who took on President Richard Nixon, fresh off a landslide 1972 re-election victory and whose team seemed to be brushing off the Watergate break-in.

Gorsuch Avoids Missteps at Supreme Court Hearing
“I have no difficulty ruling for or against any party”

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Hart Building, March 21, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch spent 11 hours Tuesday abstaining from giving personal opinions on controversial issues and reassuring critics that he isn’t beholden to President Donald Trump, generally avoiding the kind of major slip that could trip up his confirmation.

Gorsuch adopted a solemn tone at times and tried to add dashes of levity at others, as he fielded gentle Republican questions and fended off Democratic queries on abortion rights, campaign finance and his previous decisions on administrative law and workers rights.

Trump Warns GOP Members of Political, Policy Pitfalls of Killing Health Bill
President calls out Freedom Caucus Chairman Meadows in closed-door meeting

President Donald Trump and HHS Secretary Tom Price arrive in the Capitol to meet with the House Republican Conference on Tuesday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By LINDSEY MCPHERSON, JOHN T. BENNETT AND REMA RAHMAN, CQ ROLL CALL

President Donald Trump came to the Capitol Tuesday morning to make a closing pitch to House Republicans preparing to vote on health care legislation that will define the beginning of his presidency. And he did it with the confidence, jest and bravado that only he can deliver.