policy

Parts of Senate GOP Health Care Bill Break Rules, Parliamentarian Says
Abortion, insurance regulations, cost-sharing subsidies would require 60 votes

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., along with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks to reporters about the path forward for health care legislation in the Ohio Clock Corridor after the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Several parts of the Senate health care bill would violate the chamber’s budget reconciliation rules, the Senate parliamentarian said in a guidance late Friday.

Provisions related to abortion, certain insurance regulations and funding the law’s cost-sharing subsidies could be struck under the so-called Byrd rule and would require 60 votes to survive.

After Spicer Quits, Scaramucci Vows Aggressive Communications Shop
New communications director took job due to 'love' for president

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned on Friday, refusing to work for new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. His replacement, however, said he “loves” Spicer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Longtime Wall Street investment banker Anthony Scaramucci made his White House debut Friday, expressing his “love” for Donald Trump and promising a much more “aggressive” strategy of communicating the president’s message.

On a day of upheaval at the executive mansion, Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary and acting communications director amid reports he told Trump he believed Scaramucci’s hiring was a major mistake. What’s more, Scaramucci made his first major announcement as part of Trump’s team when he announced Spicer’s top deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, will be the new press secretary.

Sean Spicer’s Highlight Reel
Ex-Trump press secretary spent much of his tenure with his foot in his mouth

Sean Spicer takes pictures before Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on the West Front of the Capitol on Jan. 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Confusing, offensive, and downright strange incidents and statements often punctuated Sean Spicer’s six-month tenure as White House press secretary. 

That ended abruptly on Friday, when he announced his resignation.

Former Sen. Nelson: GOP ‘Just Can’t Quite Pull it Together’ on Health Care
Says it’s ‘day of reckoning’ for seven years worth of promises to repeal Obamacare

Former Sen. Ben Nelson on where Republicans stand on health care reform: “I believe that you have to be very cautious on promises, and very consistent on keeping your promises when you make them.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said he’s not surprised Republicans were having so much trouble passing a health care bill, saying Thursday it was the “day of reckoning” for seven years worth of promises that they would repeal the 2010 law.

“I believe that you have to be very cautious on promises,” he told the Omaha World-Herald, “and very consistent on keeping your promises when you make them.”

Photos of the Week: A Health Care Bill Stalemate Hits D.C. Amid Heat Wave
The week of July 17 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

On Monday, U.S. Capitol Police officers prepare to arrest several demonstrators protesting the GOP health care legislation in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. Dozens of protesters chanted during the demonstration before police cleared the atrium. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS

The week of July 17 began with health care negotiations in the Senate, amid protests in the hallways of the Senate office buildings, and is coming to an end with an essentially stalled process on a new health care bill in the chamber. The Republican effort to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature law continued to be the focus of Congress watchers on the Hill this week.

House Appropriators Ignore Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Arts
NEA, NEH would each receive $145 million

Nevada Rep. Mark Amodei, a member of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, said he was happy to see the arts funding preserved. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal arts and humanities programs targeted for elimination by the Trump administration would get a lifeline from House appropriators willing to ignore the president’s proposal and keep them running.

The $31.5 billion fiscal 2018 Interior-Environment spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday includes $145 million for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Polls Show Fewer Americans Want Health Care Repeal
Growing number feels government should guarantee health care for all Americans

Protesters chant against the GOP health care legislation in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building on Monday before police cleared the atrium, arresting several people who refused to leave. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New polls show Americans are less favorable of the Republican effort to repeal and replacement the 2010 health care act, and more favorable of universal health care. 

In an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Tuesday, 62 percent of those polled said it’s the federal government’s responsibility to ensure health care coverage for all Americans, compared with 37 percent saying it isn’t. That’s up 10 percent from the AP/NORC poll in March. Other polls have shown similarly high levels of popularity for universal care.

New FBI Director Expected to Be Confirmed Before August Recess
Approved by Judiciary Committee on Thursday

Christopher Wray, nominee for FBI Director, is expected to win confirmation before August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators want the new FBI director on the job as soon as possible, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to see Christopher Wray confirmed before August recess. That looks increasingly likely, as the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved his nomination, teeing it up for floor consideration as soon as McConnell moves ahead.

But the year’s nomination process has been so fraught that McConnell’s staff sent a statement out announcing the Kentucky Republican’s intentions complete with a warning shot to Democrats. 

McCain Diagnosis Puts Health Care Effort in More Jeopardy
Corker: ‘Obviously, it makes things difficult’

Arizona Sen. John McCain’s brain tumor diagnosis puts greater stress on the Senate’s already strained health care efforts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By MARY ELLEN McINTIRE and JOE WILLIAMS

Abrupt news that Arizona Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer sent shock waves through an all-Republican meeting late Wednesday on the health care effort. Amid words of concern and encouragement for their GOP colleague, lawmakers acknowledged the difficulty his extended absence would place on the effort to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system.

Amid Trump’s Shifting Health Care Stances, a Recurring Infatuation
President keeps bringing up letting 2010 law fail

President Donald Trump have often said Democratic leaders like Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will eventually come to him to make a deal on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday again appeared to change his stance on just which path he wants Republican senators to take on health care. But he has long been infatuated with the notion of House and Senate Democratic leaders asking — begging, even — for his help on health care.

This week, the president and his aides have been posturing to put that very scenario in play, even as his own party attempts to resurrect a measure that would repeal most of and partially replace the 2010 health care law in one swoop.