Politics

GOP Hopes for Obamacare Repeal Rest on ‘Skinny’ Bill
Several other Republican proposals expected to fail

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., can now bring up several GOP health care proposals for a vote after corralling the support necessary on Tuesday to bypass a key procedural hurdle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republican hopes to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system appear to hinge on the passage of a “skinny” bill that would only repeal a select few provisions in the 2010 health care law.

GOP senators and aides anticipate that several of the other Republican health care proposals expected to be considered by the chamber in the coming days will fail, clearing the way for a package that would likely just repeal the employer and individual mandates and an excise tax on medical device manufacturers.

House Passes Sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea
After procedural delays, bill sent to Senate

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., accused Iran, Russia and North Korea of seeking to undermine the United States after the House passed a bill Tuesday aimed at imposing sanctions on the three nations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A bill aimed at imposing sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea passed the House 419-3 Tuesday after being held up by technical delays for weeks. But its fate in the Senate remains unclear.

The bill was largely lauded by leadership as a bipartisan effort.

‘Disappointed’ Trump Holds Cards Close on Firing Sessions
AG’s recusal from Russia probe ‘unfair to the presidency,’ Trump gripes

Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions campaigns last year with then-GOP nominee Donald Trump. President Trump would not say Tuesday if he intends to fire now-Attorney General Sessions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file)

President Donald Trump is holding his cards close on whether he intends to fire Jeff Sessions, his hand-picked attorney general he now worries is too “weak” and “beleaguered” to do the job.

“I am very disappointed with the attorney general,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden during a joint news conference with his Lebanese counterpart. “He should not have recused himself” from the Justice Department’s Russia election investigation “almost immediately after he took office.”

Senate Clears Procedural Motion on House Obamacare Overhaul
Republicans can now hold a vote on several of their own health care bills

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, talks with reporters in the senate subway before the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on July 25, 2017. She would later vote no on the motion to proceed with the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans mustered the support necessary to clear a key procedural hurdle Tuesday that will allow the chamber to hold a vote on several pieces of legislation designed to, in some fashion or another, overhaul the U.S. health insurance system.

Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie to clear the Senate motion to proceed with the House-passed bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, after weeks of hand-wringing and backroom deal-making by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell-Affiliated Group Hits Brooks for Missing Capitol Police Vote
Senate Leadership Fund Attacks Brooks for missing vote for Capitol Police

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., is receiving criticism for missing a vote to help Capitol Police Officers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A super PAC affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is attacking Rep. Mo Brooks for skipping a vote to assist Capitol Police officers.

The Senate Leadership Fund blasted out an email criticizing Brooks, who is running for Senate in the special election in Alabama, for missing votes.

Rep. Phil Roe Diagnosed With Cancer
“Prognosis is excellent”

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., right, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., conduct a news conference at the RNC where they discussed the House Republican's new healthcare plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, March 8, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Phil Roe has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and will undergo treatment at home in east Tennessee during the August recess, his office said in a statement Tuesday.

“The prognosis is excellent, and treatment is not expected to interfere with his scheduled legislative duties,” Roe’s office said.

House Tees up Sanctions Bill, but Senate Path Uncertain
House to consider imposing sanctions on Iran, Russia, North Korea

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer predicts his chamber will pass a sanctions bill that has been held up. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bill that aims to impose sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea is up for a vote on the House floor Tuesday and leadership involved in negotiating terms of the legislation expect it to pass with little fanfare. But the measure would still need to clear the Senate, and it is unclear what the timetable is there for consideration.

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday that among the bipartisan compromises that were reached is a provision that would allow all members of the House to bring forth resolutions of disapproval should the president decide to withdraw sanctions on the three countries.

Schumer Warns Trump Against Trying to Replace Sessions With Recess Appointment
New York Democrat made remarks on the floor

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is warning against recess appointments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has not even stepped aside, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is already warning President Donald Trump against attempting a recess appointment of a replacement in August.

On the floor Tuesday, the New York Democrat said that members of his caucus were prepared to use every means available to prevent a recess appointment to replace Sessions during the break. That likely means the Senate will technically be in session throughout the month, even after the chamber’s scheduled already-extended time in Washington, D.C.

Conservative Groups Come to Sessions’ Defense
Law enforcement groups and officials praise embattled attorney general

Attorney General Jeff Sessions received support from outside conservative organizations amid reports of his job being in jeopardy (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Conservative groups are rushing to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ defense after repeated criticism from President Donald Trump and reports that his days are numbered.

Jonathan Thompson, CEO and executive director for the National Sheriffs’ Association, praised Sessions for his support of law enforcement.

Democratic Senators Rethink Bill Criminalizing Support for Israel Boycott
Israel Anti-Boycott Act could impose $1 million in penalties and 20 years in prison

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said he thinks the ACLU has misrepresented the original legislation, but he was willing to “make it clearer.” (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic senators are thinking twice about the proposed Israel Anti-Boycott Act after an outcry by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which considers it a “serious threat to free speech.”

While Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the bill’s lead author, said that the ACLU had misinterpreted the piece of legislation, he expressed his intention to “make it clearer.”

Collins Caught on Hot Mic About Farenthold: ‘He’s So Unattractive, It’s Unbelievable’
Maine senator was responding to Texas congressman’s ‘Aaron Burr’ remark

Maine Sen. Susan Collins was overheard calling out a congressman who challenged her to a duel. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Maine Sen. Susan Collins inadvertently responded to Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold’s allegorical challenge to a duel.

During the end of a hearing at the Senate Appropriations Committee, Collins was observed talking about Farenthold, a fellow Republican, with an unidentified male senator, identified by other media outlets as Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed.

House GOP Push to Reverse Course on Spending Strategy Fails

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., don’t appear to have the votes to pursue a 12-bill omnibus spending package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House GOP appropriators’ and other rank-and-file members’ last-minute push to vote on a full 12-bill spending package before the August recess has failed to garner enough support for leadership to reverse course.

The now twice-made decision to proceed with a four-bill minibus package of national security-related appropriations bills instead of a 12-bill omnibus is a blow to those in the Republican Conference who saw pursuing a 12-bill strategy a win.

Grassley, Feinstein Issue Subpoena for Manafort Testimony
Committee wants Trump campaign chief to appear on Wednesday

Then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump (left) and his then-campaign manager Paul Manafort at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland last July. Senators want to hear from Manafort, possibly this week, about Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday they saw no choice but to use a subpoena to compel Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to testify on Wednesday.

Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement they were “willing to accommodate” Manafort’s requests to cooperate with the committee’s investigation without appearing at Wednesday’s hearing, but they “were unable to reach an agreement” for his desire to provide “only a single transcribed interview to Congress, which would not be available to the Judiciary Committee members or staff.”

Senate Republicans Getting Closer on Health Care

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., says that “folks are coming around’ on backing the motion to proceed on the health care debate.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republican leaders on Tuesday continued to zero in on their goal of getting 50 votes to proceed to legislation to redo the U.S. health care system. 

Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 in GOP leadership, said “folks are coming around” on backing the motion to proceed on health care debate, but the South Dakotan declined to predict victory on today’s vote. If leadership prevails on the vote, the Senate will keep alive efforts to repeal or repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

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.