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Regular Order? Maybe Not For Alexander-Murray Bill
A markup could open door to partisan battle over the 2010 health law

Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member, are seen during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Examining How Healthy Choices Can Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Costs," on October 19. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A committee markup of a bipartisan health bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray could add another potentially fatal complication for the measure that is already under significant pressure.

Senators from both parties have for months decried the lack of regular order in the chamber as Republicans tried to jam through legislation to repeal the 2010 health law.

Word on the Hill: Negativity Causes Bipartisanship?
Women golfers event, Cyberweek, wildfire victims

Hillary Clinton arrives at Donald Trump’s inauguration in January. A new survey shows that 59 percent of people who voted for Clinton believe elected officials have low ethical standards. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Here’s one thing Democrats and Republicans have in common: Both are having trust issues. Americans’ discontent with the political and business world is not party-specific, a Morning Consult/Public Affairs Council survey revealed.

Fifty-eight percent of people who voted for Donald Trump and 59 percent of Hillary Clinton voters said elected officials have low honesty and ethical standards. Meanwhile, less than half of those surveyed said they trusted major companies to behave ethically. 

Brady and Ryan Mulling Big Gamble on Key Tax Deduction
State and local tax deduction has its fans among rank and file, though

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady want to repeal the state and local tax deduction, but face resistance from several GOP colleagues in high-tax states. (Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call File Photo)

House Republican leaders face many decisions regarding details of a tax overhaul but perhaps none more immediately consequential than whether to roll the dice and try to eliminate the state and local tax, or SALT, deduction.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas and Speaker Paul D. Ryan have made it abundantly clear they’d prefer to get rid of the deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct what they pay in state and local property taxes and either state income taxes or sales taxes.

Word on the Hill: Scientist Turned Politician Takes the Stage
Things to do this weekend

California Rep. Jerry McNerney is a scientist turned congressman. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., wrapped up the week with some laughs in the service of science. 

Taking the stage at a science comedy night show at DC Improv on Thursday night, the congressman talked about his background and what it’s like to be a scientist in Congress. McNerney is a former wind-turbine engineer and holds a doctorate in mathematics.

GOP Tax Messaging Heavy on Business Benefits
‘It all leads to the same end,’ speaker said of trickle-down effect of tax legislation

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Rep. Andy Harris speak to employees at Dixon Valve & Coupling Company about the GOP’s still developing tax legislation. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

CHESTERTOWN, Md. – “Cutting taxes is great for the businesses to make businesses more money. But how is that going to lower my taxes, or make sure it comes down to me?” That was the question a 20-year-old Dixon Valve & Coupling employee posed to Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday.

Visiting the company’s headquarters to promote the GOP’s still developing tax legislation, Ryan told the employee that he plans to lower taxes on individuals so they take home more of their paychecks. Then he quickly pivoted back to his primary message.

Budget Debate, Grievances Get Airing in Both Chambers

From left, Rep. Richard Neal, Sen. Ron Wyden, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer,  Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Barbara Lee, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Bernie Sanders conduct a news conference in the Capitol Wednesday to speak out against Republicans’ tax and budget plan that they say will benefit the wealthy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Floor action on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution — made possible by assuaging conservatives’ concerns over the emerging tax overhaul blueprint last week — officially got under way on Wednesday.

The House voted 232-188 to approve parameters for debate and moved on to formally debating the resolution. Once the House and Senate formally adopt a joint budget resolution, if they can get that far, the tax-writing committees will be able to produce filibuster-proof tax legislation through the fast-track reconciliation process.

Senate Committee Advances Children’s Health Care Bill
Only Sen. Toomey spoke out against

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., emphasized the need to keep CHIP legislation bipartisan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved by voice vote its bipartisan bill to renew funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Senators withheld amendments in an effort to speed up passage. During the voice vote, only Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., spoke out against the measure.

Enzi Losing Veteran Aide Eric Ueland as Budget Fight Heats Up
State Department gain is Budget Committee loss

Eric Ueland, left, nominee for undersecretary for management at the State Department, is introduced by Wyoming Sen. Michael B. Enzi at a Senate Foreign Relations confirmation hearing Sept. 12. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Republicans are bracing for the loss of Eric Ueland, one of their top procedural experts, at a time when they face the potentially formidable tasks of getting a budget resolution and tax overhaul passed in the Senate.

Ueland, who served as GOP staff director of the Senate Budget Committee for the past four years, is President Donald Trump’s nominee to be undersecretary for management at the State Department. The Portland, Oregon, native is awaiting a vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He stepped down to a senior adviser role on the Budget panel last month.

Word on the Hill: Pet Night
Heitkamp on North Dakota nice, and Taco Day

Every night should be Pet Night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There’s an event devoted solely to celebrating the role of pets in our lives on Capitol Hill tonight.

Pet Night on Capitol Hill is when representatives from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute and the Pet Leadership Council teach members and staffers about the importance of pet ownership in America.

Next Health Secretary Could Set Course for Insurance System
Price’s successor will put own stamp on Obamacare

President Donald Trump will nominate a new HHS Secretary now that Tom Price is out of the job. The new secretary could have a big effect on the fate of the health insurance system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the health care debate sidelined on Capitol Hill, the next Health and Human Services secretary will have the ability to determine the Trump administration’s approach on the current health care law.

Despite seven years of promises, Republicans have been unable to roll back the 2010 health care law as they’d planned before the end of September. The vacancy left by former Secretary Tom Price, who resigned last week amid scrutiny of his private jet use, added another challenge to a politically divisive battle.