Steve Scalise

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.

House Health Care Bill Teetering on the Brink of Failing
Nearly enough firm Republican ‘no’ votes to sink it

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said he opposes the GOP-backed health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photos)

By LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN/CQ ROLL CALL

The GOP health care bill appears poised for failure with at least 19 Republicans committed to voting “no,” absent additional substantial changes, and several more likely to join them in opposition. 

Key Conservatives Come Around on GOP Health Plan
Republican Study Committee leaders sign off, but Freedom Caucus still wary

Walker and several members of the Republican Study Committee voiced their support for the GOP health plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By JOHN T. BENNETT And LINDSEY McPHERSON, CQ ROLL CALL

Several key Republicans on Friday endorsed the health care overhaul bill crafted by GOP leaders and the White House, saying President Donald Trump had agreed to changes they favored minutes earlier during an Oval Office meeting. With a vote on the so-called American Health Care Act scheduled for this coming Thursday in the House, the news was welcomed by supporters of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law.

CBO Score Will Ring in Another Round of House Fight
House GOP health plan enters another stage

Ryan has previously been a big proponent of waiting for CBO’s scores. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All eyes this week are off the floor as Capitol Hill awaits a Congressional Budget Office score for House Republicans’ health care plan and the House Budget Committee prepares to mark up the plan.

While a CBO estimate on how much the plan to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law will cost and what effect it would have on those with insurance is expected as soon as Monday, the Budget Committee has scheduled its markup of the legislation for Wednesday morning.

GOP Leaders Think Health Plan Hits ‘Sweet Spot’
House leadership pushes forward, despite internal static

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his lieutenants say this is the time to vote on legislation to dismantle the 2010 health law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite increasingly loud calls to slow down the legislative push on health care, House Republican leaders are bullish that their legislation to partially dismantle the 2010 health care law and replace it with a plan that enjoys little stakeholder support is just right.

“Yes, there’s going to be questions on both sides of the aisle,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Friday. “But sometimes when you have pushback on one side and the other side from a political spectrum, you might have found the sweet spot.”

GOP Members on Trump: Health Care Measure is 'His Bill'
Trump will put 'presidential weight behind this legislation,' key chairman says

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (far right) trails President Donald Trump into the House chamber last Tuesday night before the president’s first address to a joint session of Congress. A week later, Scalise and his deputy whips made clear Trump also owns a health care overhaul bill they released this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A parade of lawmakers huddled privately with Donald Trump on Tuesday, with several senior House Republicans ending the procession by stating that the president owns their bill to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

In all, 25 House members and senators streamed through the executive mansion on a day when the Trump White House was eager to portray a unified Republican Party getting down to the details of the president’s policy agenda. Those who spoke after their meetings with Trump described the meetings, which lasted from lunchtime to late afternoon, as “great” and “very productive.”

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.

Trump White House Quietly Basks in Speech Afterglow
President huddles with GOP leaders about next steps on legislative agenda

President Donald Trump huddled with congressional Republican leaders on Wednesday, the day after his joint session address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump White House is many a time a whirlwind of activity, with President Donald Trump often summoning reporters, seemingly on a whim, when he has something to share. But there was none of that on Wednesday, as the new administration quietly relished an early victory.

A day after Trump’s first address to Congress received glowing reviews from Republicans and left even Democrats grudgingly acknowledging that he appeared presidential, the White House largely went quiet. The apparent strategy was not just to savor a, so far, rare victory, but to use the speech to springboard from five weeks of chaos and self-inflicted wounds to a push on legislative priorities.

D.C. Mardi Gras Gives Louisiana Delegation a Taste of Home
‘It’s a good chance to mix pleasure and business,’ says Sen. John Kennedy

The Scalise family celebrates the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans last month. Back: Jennifer Scalise, Whip Steve Scalise. Front: Harrison Scalise, Madison Scalise. (Courtesy Rep. Steve Scalise’s office)

D.C. Mardi Gras is one of the Louisiana delegation’s favorite traditions, and a chance to do a little work.

The annual Louisiana ALIVE celebration, which showcases the state’s culture, takes place Thursday at the Washington Hilton. That’s followed by Friday’s Festival dinner, and Saturday’s Mardi Gras Ball, a black-tie event.

GOP Leaves Retreat Pushing Small Steps to Repeal and Replace Obamacare
Expect to have Trump using the bully pulpit to get Senate votes

President Donald Trump got a standing ovation after speaking at the GOP congressional retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Pool)

PHILADELPHIA — Republicans emerged from their Center City retreat planning to replace Obamacare one step at a time by moving a series of smaller bills that President Donald Trump might try to bludgeon Senate Democrats into passing.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said Friday that both key committees involved in replacing the Affordable Care Act would be getting underway with hearings on individual elements.