Patty Murray

Photos of the Week: House Officially Adds a Member, Georgia Stays Red and Senate Health Care Unveiled
The week of June 19 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., his wife Susan, and family, arrive for a swearing in ceremony in the Capitol with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., before the actual event on the House floor on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS

A busy week in politics was capped off with the unveiling on Thursday of the Republican's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Roll Call's photographers captured the scrums of reporters surrounding senators for reactions as they made their way through the Capitol.

Senate Republicans Raise Questions About Health Care Bill
‘My concern is this doesn’t repeal Obamacare,’ Rand Paul says

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy talks with reporters Thursday after a meeting in the Capitol on the Senate Republicans’ health care draft. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A few key Senate Republicans are already raising concerns with the discussion draft of a health care bill unveiled Thursday, which could threaten its passage if the measure comes up for a vote next week.

Multiple senators raised concerns with the draft they were briefed on Thursday morning, although many said they needed to review the proposal in full. Senate GOP leaders can only lose two Republican votes on the measure for it to pass with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote as no Democrats are expected to vote for the measure. GOP leaders hope to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote next week.

Survey: Optimism Grows Among Democratic Staffers
Aides are more confident minority party can block GOP agenda

The top three Democrats in the Senate, from left, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Assistant Democratic Leader Patty Murray leave a policy luncheon in the Capitol on April 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican congressional staffers remain hopeful that they’ll enact significant legislation in 2017, but their Democratic counterparts are gaining confidence that they can block the GOP agenda, according to the June Capitol Insiders Survey of Hill aides.

Two-thirds of the Republican respondents expected it’s at least somewhat likely they’ll enact legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. But only one in five of the Democrats said the same.

Democrats Plot Senate Slowdown Over Obamacare Repeal
Schumer, Murray among Democrats planning to highlight GOP process

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer says not to expect business as usual on the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats have decided to muddle the chamber’s work in a bid to highlight the closed-door nature of Republicans’ health care negotiations.

When the Democrats take the floor Monday evening for a series of speeches against the GOP’s efforts to roll back the 2010 health care law, they will also begin objecting to a variety of unanimous consent requests that generally govern more routine Senate floor business.

Senate Rules Might Still Trip Health Care Bill
Democrats say questions remain, while GOP says ‘it’s over’

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, ranking member on the Budget Committee, says it’s still unclear whether the House health care bill passes muster. Also pictured, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Washington Sen. Patty Murray. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats believe there are still outstanding questions whether the House bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law complies with the budget procedure Republicans are employing to move the legislation with just majority support. 

Emails obtained by Roll Call show that while the Senate parliamentarian initially weighed in on a key provision that Democrats said could be fatal for the bill, that decision was later clarified to only address a small portion of that overall section. And the potential decisions by the parliamentarian on the outstanding questions, Democratic aides say, could significantly set back the GOP effort to overhaul President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

Democrats Wary of GOP Health Care Hedging
Minority party not inclined to let up on criticism

From left, Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, Chris Van Hollenof Maryland and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts kept up their attack on the GOP health care plan Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are increasingly cautious about handicapping their quest to repeal the 2010 health care law, but their Democratic colleagues have no intention of letting up on criticism of the GOP’s goal of gutting former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

Democrats have been holding near-daily press conferences outlining concerns they have with the legislation that narrowly passed the House last month.

Senate Republicans Reject DeVos’ Proposed Education Cuts
‘The kinds of cuts that are proposed in this budget will not occur’

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrives to testify on the fiscal 2018 budget request for the Education Department on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators told Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday that the Education Department’s budget request was dead on arrival in Congress, with Republicans and Democrats alike defending programs the department proposes to slash or eliminate in fiscal 2018.

At the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, DeVos also clarified remarks she made in the House last month. She pledged Tuesday to ensure that federal school choice programs would require schools to follow laws for students with disabilities. She didn’t commit to any protections not in federal law.

Mitch McConnell, Still Playing the Long Game
Trump revelations, FBI director search, don't rattle majority leader

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not allow the latest news about President Donald Trump to knock him off message. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BY JASON DICK AND JOE WILLIAMS, CQ ROLL CALL

It’s difficult to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to play anything but “The Long Game,” the Kentucky Republican’s political strategy, encapsulated by his 2016 memoir of the same name.

The Senate’s Key Health Care Players
Hatch, Alexander sure to play big roles in debate

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, as chairman of the Finance Committee, would have significant influence over the fate of the GOP health care bill in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Competing interests among Senate Republicans could significantly complicate efforts to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. But despite the influence individual members will have, two have enhanced sway among their colleagues: Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.

While leadership is expected to have a heavy hand in the process, the two senior lawmakers, as chairmen of the committees of jurisdiction, will be instrumental in driving support for any measure the chamber considers. Jockeying between the two panels over authority, however, could be a detriment to any serious attempts at an overhaul of the U.S. health care system.

Trump Wants September Shutdown to Kill Legislative Filibuster
President appears unconcerned with power he could hand future Democratic chief executive

President Donald Trump tweeted that “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix this mess!” (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Updated 11:17 a.m. | President Donald Trump on Tuesday endorsed ending filibusters of legislation in the Senate and allowing bills to pass via a simple majority — while calling for a government shutdown in September seemingly to force such a momentous change.

Trump made the stunning call a day after his White House and congressional GOP leaders struggled to counter Democratic claims of victory over a $1 trillion fiscal 2017 spending measure that is expected to hit Trump’s desk late this week.