Patty Murray

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.

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.

White House Pushes ‘Implode’ Plan Amid Talk of Bipartisan Health Bill
WH official: Trump’s tweet endorsing deal after Obamacare failure is preferred path

President Donald Trump waves from the top of the stairs before boarding Air Force One Friday on his way to  Ronkonkoma, N.Y. to speak to law enforcement officers. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By JOHN T. BENNETT And NIELS LESNIEWSKIUpdated at 4:47 p.m. Amid pleas from Republicans and Democrats for the parties to begin work on a bipartisan health care bill, President Donald Trump and White House officials on Friday doubled down on his call to put off any action until Barack Obama’s 2010 law fails.

Ailing Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain shocked senators from both parties early Friday morning when he voted against a GOP leadership-crafted measure that amounted only to a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Back in Washington after a brain tumor diagnosis, McCain made clear his vote was a shove for the entire Senate to get back to “regular order” — meaning hearings and floor debate — on health care and every other issue.

Schumer Outlines Some Democratic Priorities for Health Care
The Democratic leader wants the two parties to work together

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference in the Capitol to discuss the defeat of the Republicans’ healthcare bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said he hopes Democrats and Republicans can work together to address health care, and he has a few ideas about what they should tackle first.

Senate Republicans failed earlier in the day to garner enough votes for a last-ditch effort to repeal major components of the Affordable Care Act. Their push to fulfill a years-long promise to repeal Obamacare ended — at least for the time being — with a dramatic 49-51 vote around 2 a.m. on Friday. So Democrats, led by Schumer, are saying they want to work with Republicans to fix the Affordable Care Act instead of dismantling it. 

McConnell Reveals ‘Skinny’ Bill Text as Midnight Vote Looms
At least 50 senators need to vote for repeal measure

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks back to his office Thursday night after introducing the “skinny” bill to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky revealed an eight-page scaled-back repeal of the 2010 health care law Thursday night. The development came as support grew among senators for the so-called skinny repeal as a way to continue the debate on health care legislation.

The amendment to the House-passed health care bill would repeal the 2010 law’s individual mandate and its employer mandate for eight years. It would repeal the law’s medical device tax for three years and increase the amount of money an individual can contribute to a health savings account for three years. It would provide additional funding for community health centers, while defunding Planned Parenthood for one year. Additionally, it would provide states additional flexibility through waivers that would allow states to roll back certain health care law insurance regulations.

Senate Democrats Wage Eleventh-Hour Twitter War on GOP Health Care Bill
Vote Tuesday decides whether chamber moves ahead with Obamacare repeal

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was one of a slew of Democrats to take part in a late Twitter flurry against the GOP health care overhaul ahead of a momentous vote to proceed Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats in the last 24 hours have launched a furious volley of attacks against their colleagues across the aisle ahead of the vote Tuesday on whether to proceed with the GOP health care bill that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

The Democrats hope Twitter is their Agincourt and tweets their arrows.

Amid Trump Jr. Emails, Leaders Stay on Health Care
Majority, minority leaders stay on message

Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Donald Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence talk as they leave the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walked up to his weekly Tuesday presser faced with damning evidence that President Donald Trump’s son and key advisers met with individuals connected to the Russian government on the promise of comprising information against candidate Hillary Clinton.

But McConnell opted not to weigh in on the news that sent shock waves through Capitol Hill and reignited attention on the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election.

White House, Schumer Clash Over Confirmation Votes
Administration raises scepter of special session for nomination votes

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (left), D-N.Y., discusses Senate Republicans’ health care bill with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in the Capitol on June 22. On Monday, he fired back after the White House accused him of unjustly blocking its nominations. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House and Senate Democratic leaders clashed on Monday about what Trump administration officials are calling “unprecedented” blocking tactics of nominees from Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer — a charge the Senate Democratic leader scoffed at. 

Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, accused Senate Democrats of “conducting the slowest confirmation process in American history” and Schumer of running “an unprecedented campaign of obstruction.”

Ticks, Floods, and a Dash of Health Care
Recess talks vary widely across Senate leadership

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been speaking on a variety of topics around his state over the recess, not just health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Finding the votes for the Republican effort to roll back the 2010 health care overhaul may be the most pressing matter at the Capitol, but it hasn’t been the only topic of conversation for senators back home over the July Fourth recess.

Take the example of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. During a speech to Republicans in Hardin County, Kentucky, on Friday, McConnell likened the health care negotiations to a “Rubik’s Cube.”

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.