Energy & Environment

Lawmakers Predict GOP Bill Will Be 2018 Campaign Issue
Republicans may still be tethered to a bill that was never put to a vote

Former National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference where Speaker Paul D. Ryan announced the vote for leadership’s health care plan had been canceled. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans won’t have a recorded vote on leadership’s health care plan but that doesn’t mean their position on it won’t be used against them in campaign ads in 2018. 

Former National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden, now chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, admitted as much Friday evening. “Everybody staked out their position so they’ll be able to reap the benefit of that position or take the hit,” he told Roll Call.

Paul Ryan Concedes on Health Care, Says House Will Move On
Speaker says members did all they could to get consensus

Speaker Paul Ryan said the House is moving on from the health care effort. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan Friday put a nail in the coffin, at least for the time being, on the GOP’s long goal of repealing the 2010 health law. 

Moments after the speaker and his leadership team pulled from the floor a bill to gut the law, Ryan faced the press and delivered a somber verdict for his troops. 

Announcing Keystone, Trump Declares ‘New Era of American Energy Policy’
President tells TransCanada boss his lobbyists did not do ‘a damn thing’ to get his OK

Pipes like these will be used to build the Keystone Pipeline in the United States, which President Trump formally approved on Friday. (Courtesy shannonpatrick17/Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0)

President Donald Trump announced Friday he has formally approved a Canadian firm’s application to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, a project long blocked by his predecessor and demanded by Republican lawmakers.

“It’s a great day for American jobs, a historic day for North America and energy independence,” Trump said at his desk in the Oval Office. “This announcement is part of a new era of American energy policy that will lower costs for American families, and very significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

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.

GOP Bill Takes Aim at Long-Shot Medicaid Expansion Hopes
Provision is a blow to efforts in North Carolina and Kansas

North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson said the GOP provision was partially put in to benefit Republican governors who wanted to avoid political pressure to expand their own states’ entitlement programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans in North Carolina and Kansas who hope to scale back Medicaid can claim a victory in the updated GOP plan to overhaul the 2010 health care law. The package takes aim at those two states, which had the highest — albeit long-shot — hopes of expanding their Medicaid programs this year.

The provision, included in a manager’s amendment to the bill released by House leaders on Monday, would prevent states from expanding their Medicaid programs if they didn’t already do so by March 1.

Trump Boasts of Forcing Canadian Firm to Drop Keystone Lawsuit
Claims he threatened to take back his approval of TransCanada’s project

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participate in a joint news conference at the White House in February. On Tuesday, Trump said he threatened to nix a Canadian company's Keystone Pipeline project unless it dropped a lawsuit against the U.S. government. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Updated at 11:25 a.m. | President Donald Trump is asserting he got the Canadian company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project to drop a lawsuit seeking more than $10 billion from the U.S. government after he threatened to take back his approval of the project.

In late January, Trump signed an executive order green-lighting TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL after the Obama administration blocked it for years. He did so, however, with a major caveat, saying the pipeline deal was “subject to terms and conditions that will be negotiated by us.”

Are Trump and McConnell Preparing the Next SCOTUS Pick?
Kentucky judge is a favorite of Senate majority leader

President Donald Trump might be looking to a close associate of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's for his next selection to the Supreme Court. (George LeVines/CQ Roll Call)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing is still underway, but President Donald Trump may have laid the groundwork for his next Supreme Court pick Monday night in the Bluegrass State.

As Trump was on stage for a campaign-style rally at Freedom Hall, members of the Kentucky press corps were reporting that the president intends to nominate Judge Amul Thapar to fill an appellate seat for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The White House made it official on Tuesday.

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”

Looking for Clues From a 2005 Special Election in Ohio
Instead of comparing Democratic enthusiasm to tea party, go further back in time

Democrat Paul Hackett narrowly lost a special election in a heavily Republican district in Ohio in 2005. (Mike Simons/Getty Images file photo)

Are Democrats in the early stages of their own tea party movement? It’s one of the biggest outstanding questions at this point in the cycle. But as we collectively look at the past for prologue, I don’t understand why our memories only go back eight years.

There was a time, not too long ago, when Democrats were out of the White House and in the minority in both chambers of Congress, and a demoralizing presidential election loss helped jump-start a movement back to the majority.

Kennedy Intern Hopes Her Story Is a Factor in Health Care Debate
Jen Fox credits law with helping her overcome Hodgkin’s lymphoma twice

Jen Fox speaks of her battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma as her boss Massachusetts Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III listens. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

During a markup in the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the Republican bill to replace President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III criticized the legislation by saying it was not an act of mercy but rather “an act of malice.”

Jen Fox, 25, one of the Massachusetts Democrat’s interns, was there for part of the 24 hours that the bill was being dissected. She said she wouldn’t have been, if not for the 2010 law.

What the GOP Wants to Keep or Gut from Obamacare
One Republican health plan is heading toward the House floor next week

GOP leaders, including pictured Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black, R-Tenn., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., held a news conference Tuesday as the group continues to pitch a repeal and replace plan in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By RANDY LEONARD and ERIN MERSHON CQ Roll Call

A GOP proposal to repeal and replace portions of the 2010 health care law is making its way though the House, but it faces an uncertain fate.

GOP Grapples With Path Forward for Health Care Plan
Some senators are clamoring for changes to the House bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, says his chamber will consider whatever the House comes up with on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans grappled Tuesday with how to advance their health care proposal following a report from the Congressional Budget Office that the plan would dramatically increase the number of uninsured Americans.

House lawmakers had more time to digest the report thanks to a winter storm that delayed their schedule. But senators trudged through the slush and snow to the Capitol, where they faced questions about the CBO report that said the GOP plan would lead to 24 million more people uninsured by 2026, and reduce the deficit by $337 billion over 10 years.

GOP Outside Group Pressures Vulnerable Members on Health Care Plan
American Action Network has now spent $10 million on repeal and replace campaigns

American Action Network is running ads in California Rep. David Valadao's district encouraging him to keep his promise to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The day after the Congressional Budget Office announced 14 million more Americans would be uninsured under House GOP leadership’s health care plan by 2018, a major ally of leadership is hitting the airwaves to defend the plan and the members it needs to back it. 

American Action Network is launching $1.5 million in TV ads Tuesday that will air nationally on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and in 15 congressional districts across the country, about half of which Hillary Clinton won last fall. 

CBO: Lower Deficit, More Uninsured Under House Health Plan
Nonpartisan budget scorekeepers predict savings, uninsured would grow

Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy have been pushing their health plan hard. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:37 p.m. | The House Republican leadership’s legislation to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over a decade while increasing the number of uninsured by 24 million people by 2026, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday.

The nonpartisan budget scorekeepers predicted that under the House GOP plan — which was scheduled for consideration by the House Budget Committee on Thursday to be packaged as a reconciliation bill that would only require a majority to pass in the Senate —  the biggest savings would come as a result of decreased funding to Medicaid and cutting off subsidies for individuals to purchase insurance on the health care exchanges. It would also lower average premiums enough to stabilize the individual health insurance market, according to the “score” of the legislation.

Senators Cranky About Appropriations Process
Little appetite for another continuing resolution

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had spoken against punting on appropriations bills last fall with a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“I will never vote for a CR again.”

That was all the normally talkative Sen. Lindsey Graham cared to say when asked about the prospect of completing his State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill this year, or, as has become custom, funding that part of the government through another continuing resolution. The South Carolina Republican wants to create a new account to help countries in Eastern Europe battle Russian propaganda, something that wouldn’t happen if spending is just put on auto-pilot through a CR.