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Podcast: McConnell's Health Care Seesaw
The Big Story, Episode 59

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., after announcing there would be no vote on the health care bill this week. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate majority leader hasn’t abandoned hope of finding 50 votes for the year’s top GOP priority. But postponement over the July Fourth break won’t make it easier to bridge the gap between those focused on Obamacare’s repeal and those worried about too stingy a replacement, Roll Call's Niels Lesniewski and David Hawkings explain.

Show Notes:

Trump Ready for Summer Sojourn in France
President accepts Macron’s Bastille Day celebration invitation

President Donald Trump will visit France next month for Bastille Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Trump White House issued an unlikely message Wednesday: Viva la France!

It turns out Donald Trump, the “America first” president who regularly rankles the United States’ European allies, will visit President Emmanuel Macron’s France before Prime Minister Theresa May’s United Kingdom.

Trump Huddles With GOP Senators as McConnell Issues Warning
At White House, majority leader says Republicans would lose leverage in talks with Dems

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, seen here at the Capitol on Tuesday, has major concerns about the Senate health care legislation. She sat next to the president at Tuesday's White House meeting on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump summoned Senate Republicans to the White House on Tuesday to discuss differences that are holding up a GOP leadership crafted health bill, declaring talks are “very close” to producing a deal and that it would be “OK” if the effort fails.

The Republican senators boarded busses outside the Capitol and made the short trek down Pennsylvania Avenue shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced a vote on a still-evolving health overhaul measure would be delayed until after next week’s July Fourth recess. The move offered Trump, who held a Rose Garden victory celebration after the House passed its version in May, an opportunity to again cast himself as the dealmaker in chief.

Senate Republicans Delay Vote on Health Care Bill
GOP leaders say more time needed to negotiate the proposal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, and Vice President Mike Pence are still looking for the GOP votes to advance their legislation to redo the U.S. health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By JOE WILLIAMS and NIELS LESNIEWSKI, Roll Call

The Senate will not vote this week on a Republican bill to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system despite continued pressure from conservative activists and the Trump administration to act.

22 Million More Uninsured Under Senate Health Care Bill, CBO Says
$321 billion would be saved over 10 years

The draft health care bill written by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, would result in 22 million more Americans without health insurance by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Republican health care bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million over a decade to 49 million, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. This estimate likely will increase the challenges for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in trying to pass the bill before the July Fourth recess.

In comparison, the version the House passed May 4 would increase the uninsured population by 23 million over a decade, the CBO said last month. The Senate bill would save $321 billion over a decade, more than the House bill’s $119 billion reported by the CBO last month.

Trump Wants Health Care Bill by August Recess
Press secretary won't take position on Senate vote this week, however

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said President Donald Trump wants a health overhaul bill on his desk by the time lawmakers leave for their annual August recess. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump would like Congress to send him a final health care measure by the time lawmakers depart for their annual August recess — but he is not, for now, taking a position on whether the Senate has to vote on its version this week.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced the president’s desired timeline at his Monday briefing, which was held with the television cameras turned off, as is becoming the norm. But Spicer did not take a position on Trump’s behalf when asked if the president wants the Senate to vote on its health bill this week no matter what.

Podcast: House Republicans Ignore Trump on Budget
Budget Tracker Extra, Episode 23

Eric Ueland, Republican Staff Director for the Senate Budget Committee, hands out copies of President Trump's FY2018 Budget in Dirksen Building on May 23, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even as a budget agreement remains elusive for Congress, House lawmakers have reached a couple of decisions: a significant funding boost for defense and around $511 billion for all else—largely ignoring President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget request, say’s CQ’s Budget Tracker editor David Lerman.

Show Notes:

Lawmakers Want Trump’s Tax Returns, but Won’t Release Their Own
Only a handful willing to release documents to Roll Call

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján has called on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ben Ray Luján — like many in Congress — wants President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Transparency, the New Mexico Democrat said recently in a Facebook post, “is a cornerstone of democracy.”

Podcast: Obamacare in Peril
The Week Ahead, Episode 59

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

CQ's health reporter Kerry Young and magazine deputy editor Shawn Zeller explain the consequences of the draft health care bill crafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who can cement his legislative legacy by slashing Medicaid — a program that helps almost 70 million people who live in or near poverty or have disabilities.

Show Notes:

Opinion: Bickering Democrats — Still Mired in the 20th Century
Time for a new agenda and an end to self-destructive proxy battles

Only Democrats get into a deep funk over the failure of Jon Ossoff — a 30-year-old first-time candidate — to win the Georgia 6th district special election, Walter Shapiro writes. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Only the downtrodden and dispirited Democrats could work themselves into a bout of I’m-on-the-ledge-and-thinking-about-jumping depression over the failure of a 30-year-old first-time candidate to win a House seat in a Georgia district where he didn’t even live.

Equally ludicrous are the recriminations over Democratic tactics in Georgia-6. Last Tuesday’s special election in the upscale Atlanta suburbs might be a bellwether if it were typical for both sides to spend $50 million on a single House race. At that rate of spending, the 2018 House races would cost about $21 billion.