forn

Senate Strategy on House Health Care Bill: That’s Not Ours
Republican members sidestep commenting on CBO report

From left, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, arrive for a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, March 14, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans have a plan to avoid answering questions on the House legislation to repeal large portions of the 2010 health law: to say it’s not their bill.

The chamber on Friday begins a 10-day recess and lawmakers could face questions from constituents about a recent analysis on the House bill by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The report, released on Wednesday, said that the legislation would result in 23 million more uninsured individuals over the next decade compared to the current law’s trajectory.

Trump’s Germany Criticism Denied — Then Confirmed — By Aides
Report: U.S. president called Germans ‘bad, very bad’ on trade tactics

President Donald Trump approaches German Chancellor Angela Merkel as world leaders arrive for their group photo at the G7 summit in Taormina, Italy, on Friday. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The White House is sending mixed signals about a report that President Donald Trump blasted Germany over its auto exports to the United States, the first major dustup during his inaugural foreign trip.

The Germans are bad, very bad,” President Trump allegedly said, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel, citing sources who were in the room. “See the millions of cars they sell in the U.S., terrible. We will stop this.”

Senators Make Another Bid to Authorize War Against ISIS
Flake and Kaine have tried before

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is introducing another proposal for authorizing the use of military force against ISIS. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“When I voted in 2001 to authorize military force against the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks, I had no idea I would be authorizing armed conflict for more than fifteen years, and counting.”

That’s what Sen. Jeff Flake said Thursday. The Arizona Republican was announcing yet another effort with Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, to get Congress to go on record to authorize the use of military force against the Islamic State and other terror groups.

White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

CBO Estimate of Revised House Health Care Bill Changes Little
Senate GOP leaders say the votes still are not there for passage

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Wednesday said there were not 50 votes in the Senate for a health care bill. And that was before the CBO score came in. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BY KERRY YOUNG AND SANDHYA RAMAN

A House-passed health care bill would reduce federal spending by $119 billion over a decade, compared to a previous estimate of $150 billion over a decade. And it would cause the number of Americans lacking medical insurance to rise by 23 million by 2026, which is 1 million less than under previous iterations of the measure, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

Debt Limit Deadline Already Creeping Up Congress
Mnuchin, Mulvaney make case for action sooner rather than later

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney says the debt limit deadline my arrive sooner than expected. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress and the Trump administration may be facing off over raising the debt limit sooner than planned.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he wanted Congress to complete a clean measure to lift the debt ceiling before the August recess on Wednesday.

Republican Senator Seeks to Save Obamacare Before Dismantling It
Lamar Alexander advocating for two-step approach to repealing law

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander is advocating short-term market stabilization measures for the 2010 health care law. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Lamar Alexander has found himself in an uncommon position for most Republicans this year: Trying to save the shaky insurance markets created by the 2010 health care law before attending to a major overhaul of the law.

The opinions of the Tennessee’s senior senator carry significant weight among his colleagues. He is a close confidant of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and also chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

East Jerusalem Should Be Palestinian Capital, Abbas Insists
Israelis reject that notion showing Trump how tough a peace pact will be

Demonstrators hold posters during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump next to the American consulate on Monday night in Jerusalem. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Updated at 7:44 a.m. President Donald Trump continued to press for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal during a stop in Bethlehem, but comments by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas showed just how difficult such a pact will be.

As Trump said Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu have assured him they want to “work towards that goal in good faith,” the Palestinian leader laid down a key marker for potential talks that his Israeli counterparts have rejected in the past.

Tax Overhaul Challenges Unified Republican Government
Contentious House provisions spark interest in bipartisan Senate plan

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had planned to pass a tax overhaul by August, a timeline that has slipped amid intraparty divisions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY LINDSEY MCPHERSON AND JOE WILLIAMS

Republican leaders are applying a lesson learned from health care to the tax overhaul debate: build consensus before releasing a bill.

No Apology for Israel Over Trump’s Disclosure to Russians
Tillerson: ‘I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for’

President Donald Trump (L) speaks during a joint statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on Monday. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump does not plan to apologize to Israeli leaders for disclosing sensitive intelligence provided by the Jewish country to senior Russian diplomats.

Asked by reporters Monday on Air Force One if Trump will apologize to Israeli leaders for sharing password-only classified intelligence about an Islamic State plot to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson replied: “I don’t know that there’s anything to apologize for.”