Oklahoma

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”

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.

Trumpcare: Big Bills in Small Towns

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., right, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., conduct a news conference at the RNC where they discussed the House Republican's new healthcare plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, March 8, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In the southeast Georgia town of Statesboro, J. Wayne Collingsworth is fed up.

Collingsworth and his wife Kathy have watched their health insurance premiums jump from about $1,000 per month in 2015 to $1,550 per month this year. Last year the couple, who buy their insurance through HealthCare.gov, had to switch from a Humana plan they liked to a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia plan after their original insurer stopped selling coverage in their area. Their new plan also doesn’t pay for all the medications their previous insurer covered.

Senators Cranky About Appropriations Process
Little appetite for another continuing resolution

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had spoken against punting on appropriations bills last fall with a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“I will never vote for a CR again.”

That was all the normally talkative Sen. Lindsey Graham cared to say when asked about the prospect of completing his State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill this year, or, as has become custom, funding that part of the government through another continuing resolution. The South Carolina Republican wants to create a new account to help countries in Eastern Europe battle Russian propaganda, something that wouldn’t happen if spending is just put on auto-pilot through a CR. 

Work on Fiscal 2018 Budget On Hold
More focus on health care bill

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., says that Congress’ budget is not necessarily President Donald Trump’s budget. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Work on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution appears on hold until after Congress passes a repeal of the 2010 health care law.

But Republicans on the Budget and Appropriations committees do not appear concerned about the delayed timeline or the upcoming budget request from the White House, which will ask lawmakers to increase defense discretionary spending by $54 billion and pay for it by an equal cut to domestic discretionary spending bills.

Word on the Hill: Week Wraps Up
Animals, actors, and singers

California Rep. Ed Royce shows off George the kangaroo at a World Wildlife Day event hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Society on Capitol Hill this week. (Chip Weiskotten/WCS)

Happy Friday of a very busy week in Washington! And, a belated Happy Women’s History Month!

Here are a few things that happened this week worth checking out.

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.

Sessions Recuses Himself From Russia Investigation
AG’s move follows Republican recusal calls, Democrats say he should resign

Attorney General Jeff Sessions takes questions during a news conference on Thursday after he announced he would recuse himself from investigations into ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian entities. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Updated 5:03 p.m. | Attorney General Jeff Sessions will recuse himself from any investigation into ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, he said Thursday.

The attorney general had been dogged all day by calls from some Republicans to step aside from any inquiry — and from Democrats for him to resign — following reports that he had met with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. last year, despite saying he had not in his confirmation hearings.

Scalia Play Coming This Summer
Arena Stage announces its next political plays

The panel from left to right: Jacqueline E. Lawton, John Strand, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Rita Braver, Nathan Alan Davis, Molly Smith (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

“The Originalist,” which dives into the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s heart and soul, will be performed on Arena Stage this summer.

Playwright John Strand premiered the play at Arena Stage in 2015. He is now commissioned with bringing the late justice’s story back, the theater announced on Monday.

Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA
Court order unsealing records prompted calls to postpone vote

Scott Pruitt was confirmed Friday as the new administrator of the EPA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate continued powering through its march on Cabinet confirmations, approving on Friday the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, despite questions surrounding the appropriateness of his contacts with the fossil fuel industry.

Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Pruitt.