Budget

Robbing the Poor to Pay Paul Ryan’s Pals
Speaker may have powerful ally for assault on Medicaid

Speaker Paul D. Ryan Ryan has another shot at Medicaid with longtime ally Tom Price running the Department of Health and Human Services, Jonathan Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants you to know that he cares about the poor. He wants you to know that his deeply held Catholic convictions drive him to seek opportunity for those in poverty, particularly people of color.

He speaks in the compassionate tones of someone who means to help not harm, and I believe that these are his real values, even if I often don’t agree with his policy prescriptions.

Trump Comes Out Swinging Against Familiar Foes
Ignoring stumbles, president says administration is a ‘fine-tuned machine’

President Donald Trump focused on familiar targets in his news conference on Thursday. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday handed the Senate a new Labor secretary nominee who has previously been approved by the chamber three times — but he used the next 75 minutes to rouse his base and goad his critics. 

Trump walked into the East Room of the White House and announced that Alexander Acosta, a former assistant attorney general, will be his second pick to run the Labor Department after fast-food mogul Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination on Wednesday.

Emerging GOP Plan Would Replace Parts of Obamacare as It’s Repealed
Ryan, Walden, Brady present plan that includes provisions that are controversial among some Republicans

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters Thursday that legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would be announced after the Presidents Day recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Developing House Republican legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would also include replacement provisions that are controversial among the GOP rank and file, like a refundable tax credit to help individuals purchase insurance and a plan for dealing with Medicaid expansion.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on Thursday presented to the House Republican Conference their vision for a “repeal plus” bill that would undo most of the health care law and set up some pieces of a yet undeveloped Republican replacement. 

Mulvaney Confirmed as Budget Director
Arizona’s John McCain is only defector in party-line vote

South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney was confirmed as director of the Office of Management and Budget on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney as the new director of the Office of Management and Budget on Thursday morning, allowing the budget process to move forward.

The South Carolina Republican was confirmed by a 51-49 vote, with Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain the only Republican defector. The Arizona senator announced on Wednesday that he could not support Mulvaney’s nomination because of the congressman’s work to cut defense spending. 

Ted Cruz Wants to Repeal Obamacare Now, Then Work Out Replacement Details
Texas Republican says they must 'honor the promise we've made to voters for six years running now'

Sen. Ted Cruz wants quick action on the Obamacare repeal bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even no with no consensus replacement for Obamacare in sight, Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing for action on the repeal long promised by Republicans.

“What I think is critical at the outset is that we honor the promise we've made to voters for six years running now to repeal Obamacare. We've had three elections — 2010, 2014 and 2016 — that were referenda on repealing Obamacare, and we need to honor that promise,” Cruz said. “Once Obamacare’s repealed, then we need common sense health care reform that expands choices, that lowers prices, and empowers patients to make their own health care decisions."

Trump Travel Ban Crashes Texas Wedding Plans
Texas native with Iranian roots presses lawmakers on executive order

Shervin Taheran is concerned that some of her relatives from Iran would be unable to attend her April wedding in Texas if President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration is reinstated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said his approach to preventing terrorist attacks on U.S. soil won’t always be tidy. That’s especially true when it affects things like the already delicate task of compiling a wedding guest list. Just ask Shervin Taheran. 

If reinstated by the judicial branch, Trump’s travel ban may prevent many family members and friends from entering the United States to celebrate personal milestones with their loved ones.

Word on the Hill: Trailblazer Awards
Astronaut is testifying in the House

Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will receive a Trailblazer Award from the Congressional Black Associates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This Black History Month, the Congressional Black Associates will honor five people for their contributions to the community in their annual Trailblazer Awards ceremony.

This year’s awardees are Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., and Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black, and Hill veterans Michael McQuerry, Jaqueline Ellis (posthumously) and Jennifer DeCasper.

Why Democrats Didn’t Go to the Mat on Linda McMahon
Former WWE chief breezed to confirmation

Blumenthal, left, and McMahon, right, previously ran against each other for the Connecticut Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees have sparked fierce fights in the Senate, but Democrats declined to go to the mat on one of his picks: former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon. 

The businesswoman and two-time Republican Senate nominee from Connecticut was easily confirmed Tuesday morning to lead the Small Business Administration, with 81 senators voting in her favor. On the surface, that may seem surprising, given that Democrats have decried Trump’s nominees’ exorbitant wealth and their lack of governing experience.

Ambitious House Agenda on Medicaid Could Stall in Senate
GOP senators doubt changes could gain traction in upper chamber

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said he thinks there might not be enough “political will” for a major Medicaid overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators are warning that major changes to the Medicaid program may not survive the upper chamber, despite an aggressive push from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to include a substantial overhaul of the program in the Republican measure to repeal the health care law.

In the House, Ryan and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden are pushing their colleagues to consider major Medicaid changes on a repeal bill this spring. Those include funding mechanisms like so-called block grants and per capita caps or a cap on Medicaid enrollment for states that expanded the program under the health care law, according to House aides.

McConnell Lines Up Slew of Cabinet Nominee Votes
Mick Mulvaney will be first of half-dozen nominations to get vote

South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney is expected to receive a vote on his nomination to head the Office of Management and Budget this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has laid the groundwork for another procedural slog on the Senate floor that could stretch into the early part of March.

First up after a previously scheduled vote Tuesday morning on Linda McMahon’s nomination to helm the Small Business Administration will be the Office of Management and Budget director nominee, Rep. Mick Mulvaney. The South Carolina Republican will receive a vote this week after what’s expected to be a blistering debate likely focused on his tea party past, including his past opposition to increased defense spending.