Tom Cotton

Opinion: The GOP’s Big Health Care Winner — Mitch McConnell
House in flames but crisis avoided in the Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remains untarnished by the GOP effort to repeal the 2010 health care law, Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There’s exactly one big winner in the Republican leadership right now: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

The Kentucky Republican, long known for his sixth-sense acumen as a political and legislative strategist, completely avoided the direct and collateral damage of the GOP health care debacle of 2017.

Opinion: Are Republicans Storming the Castle or Walking the Plank on Health Care?
Upcoming health care vote could have consequences for 2018

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, was singled out by President Donald Trump at Tuesday’s House GOP conference meeting for not yet voicing his support for the Republican health care plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans are getting leaned on, hard, to vote for the GOP health care bill. First came the invitations to the White House Bowling Alley. Then the lunch dates. Still hunting for votes over the weekend, President Donald Trump flew members to Mar-a-Lago. But by Tuesday, with a floor vote looming, President Trump was naming names at the GOP caucus meeting. “Mark Meadows?” the president said, looking for the leader of the Freedom Caucus, who has still not said he’ll vote for the bill. “Stand up, Mark. … Mark, I’m going to come after you.”

The White House later said that the president was “just having fun” at the caucus meeting. But when a White House goes into full whip mode, which this White House obviously has, it’s time for the members on the sharp side of the whip to ask themselves whether they’re being asked to storm the castle or walk the plank. In other words, will their vote on health care this week help deliver a successful, necessary legislative victory, or are they being asked to support a bill that may not pass, may not work, or may cost them and their party their seats in two years’ time.

Opinion: Paul Ryan and the Danger of Keeping Unworkable Promises
GOP could pay a political price in 2018 with repeal and replace push

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s rationale for a health care overhaul conflicts with where most Americans stand on the issue, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Paul Ryan quote from “Face the Nation” on Sunday so appealed to the speaker’s press office that it became the headline of a Monday morning press release. Referring to Obamacare, Ryan said, “We made a promise to the people who elected us, we would repeal and replace this law. … And now we are keeping our word.”

Promises made, promises kept. It sounds so inspiring. But for all the political pride in adhering to campaign promises, what usually matters far more to the voters are their personal priorities rather than those of politicians.

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.

On Paper, Trump’s First 50 Days Resemble Previous Presidents’
But turbulence, including Obama claims, defined opening seven weeks

President Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Feb. 6 after spending the weekend in Florida. In many ways, his first 50 days match those of other recent presidents. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

On one hand, the first 50 days of Donald Trump’s presidency, in some ways, closely resemble those of his recent predecessors. But on the other, those similarities largely have been overshadowed by missteps and inflammatory tweets. 

A botched executive order temporarily banning many Muslims from entering the United States, allegations that former President Barack Obama tapped his phones, and an otherwise chaotic seven weeks have defined Trump’s first 50 days. But data reviewed by CQ Roll Call stretching back to the opening days of the Reagan administration shows Trump is off to a start much like several other recent commanders in chief.50Days-top-summary

Senators Have Serious Issues With House GOP Health Care Bill
Portman, Capito among those voicing concerns over Medicaid provisions

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Rob Portman discussed Medicaid expansion during a meeting on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators are increasingly talking about the prospect of needing to amend the House’s health care law replacement bill.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune said it was entirely possible the Senate would amend the GOP health care bill through the budget reconciliation process on the floor.

Take Five: Luther Strange
Newest senator is staying with another tall guy in D.C.

Alabama’s Luther Strange was appointed to fill out the term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Republican Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama, who replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions, talks about his height, first impressions of the Senate, and when his dog will join him in D.C.

Q: How do you feel about being the tallest senator in modern history? [Editor’s note: Strange is 6 feet 9 inches tall]

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.”

Club for Growth Singles Out Noem in Border Tax Fight

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., center, leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, May 17, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Club for Growth has begun an advertising campaign aimed at pressuring Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., a tax writer, to oppose a contentious House GOP proposal to tax imports and exempt exports, the latest salvo in the battle to shape lawmakers’ attempts to overhaul the tax code.

David McIntosh, a former Republican representative from Indiana and now president of the conservative advocacy group, said he strongly opposed the plan’s call for border adjustments to taxes. The group still supports parts of the House GOP tax blueprint, issued by Speaker Paul D. Ryan last year, that would lower rates and end the estate tax.