Virginia

Word on the Hill: Happy Friday
Books, restaurants and trees

This week was taken up with debate over the Republican repeal and replace health care effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After a busy week on the Hill, there’s a lot to do off the Hill this weekend to chill out.

Temperatures are supposed to reach 75 degrees in the District on Saturday, so it will be a great time to check out what’s left of the Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin.

Manchin and Cortez Masto Bet on NCAA Sweet 16 Game
Gonzaga and West Virginia alums’ team face off Thursday

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin III and Catherine Cortez Masto made a friendly bet over their alma maters facing off Thursday night in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Little Agreement Among GOP Members on Health Care Bill Next Steps
Regular conference meeting canceled ahead of Freedom Caucus meeting with Trump

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said repeal of the so-called essential health benefits provision in the Republican health care plan, which Freedom Caucus members have pushed for, might not be allowed under Senate rules. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans had hoped to vote on a bill to partially repeal and replace the landmark 2010 health care law on Thursday, seven years to the day after President Barack Obama signed it. Instead, they find themselves without the votes to do so and little agreement on their next move.

The House GOP conference’s weekly Thursday planning meeting, at which lawmakers might have decided on next steps, was canceled Thursday morning. Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus, which opposed the bill, are scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump at 11:30 a.m., so progress on the bill may not be made until midday Thursday or later.

Nuclear Option Looms as Supreme Court Hearings Wrap Up
Senators ready to blame opposing party for any upending of Senate rules

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings wrapping up, senators will soon confront whether his nomination will upend Senate rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet said  whether he would move to change Senate rules that currently require 60 votes to end debate on Gorsuch’s nomination. If eight members of the Democratic caucus do not join the 52 Republicans to move the nomination forward, McConnell could move to change the rules, lowering the threshold to a simple majority.

Members Show School Spirit as Sweet 16 Games Begin
Manchin, Cortez Masto go head-to-head while other members are torn

The Sweet 16 round of the NCAA March Madness starts today and members are showing their school spirit. And talking a little smack.

Sen. Joe Manchin III is the only member of Congress who is an alumnus of West Virginia University — he graduated with a business administration degree.

White House to Skeptical GOP Members on Health Bill: This Is It
President meets with various members, Republican and Democrat, over course of day

President Donald Trump still doesn't have the House votes to pass the GOP health plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House intensified its game of chicken with Republican lawmakers over the party’s health care overhaul plan, saying there is no Plan B.

Even as one GOP lawmaker told Roll Call there likely are around 30 “no” votes among the Republican conference — more than enough to sink the legislation — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer warned members of his party “this is it.”

Vulnerable Senate Democrats Stand Firm in Opposing GOP Health Care Plan
Senators in tight races are making a moral argument against the bill

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III talks with constituents during a town hall meeting in Martinsburg, W.Va., last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Senate Democrats up for re-election in Republican-leaning states are united in opposition to the GOP health care plan.

For them, overhauling the health care system is not just about policy. It’s a matter of right and wrong.

Word on the Hill: Lawmakers Ball Up
The ‘Egyptian Jon Stewart’ and staffer shuffle

Indiana Rep. André Carson greets California Rep. Jeff Denham before the 2013 Home Court charity basketball game at Trinity Washington University. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Home Court charity basketball game when the Hill’s Angels, made up of members of Congress, take on Georgetown Law faculty and staff, a.k.a. the Hoya Lawyas, is tonight.

It’s the 30th annual matchup, which raises money for The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. Tickets are $15.

Trump Defense Boost Would Mean Big Gains for Some States
Democrats likely to hold line for parity with nondefense programs

Brian Schatz, whose state of Hawaii is the No. 3 recipient of per-capita defense spending, says there must be parity in domestic spending to go with any boost to national security programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A request from the Trump administration for a double-digit increase in defense spending could be largely decided by lawmakers whose states are far from equal players when it comes to the benefits of a bigger military budget.

That’s long been the case, as geographic, historic and strategic differences across the country result in more of an economic boost in certain states. But the differences are even more starkly displayed in a new Pew Charitable Trusts analysis that shows the funding split across all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a per-capita basis.

‘What Does It Mean?’ West Virginians Weigh GOP Health Care Plan
Voters at town hall meeting wanted to know more about the overhaul

Stephanie Frederickson, right, and Diane Hughes, who spoke about their experience with medical coverage under the 2010 health care law, listen to Sen. Joe Manchin during a town hall meeting in Martinsburg, W.Va. on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Diane Hughes took the microphone, looked down at the paper in front of her and said, “I’m nervous and I don’t like politics, but here it goes.”

Hughes was among the West Virginia residents gathered at the Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center here on Thursday for a town hall meeting on the Republican plan to overhaul the 2010 health care law. The meeting’s organizers had asked her to share her story, and she admitted she was initially reluctant to do so.