Cathy McMorris Rodgers

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.

Key Conservatives Come Around on GOP Health Plan
Republican Study Committee leaders sign off, but Freedom Caucus still wary

Walker and several members of the Republican Study Committee voiced their support for the GOP health plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By JOHN T. BENNETT And LINDSEY McPHERSON, CQ ROLL CALL

Several key Republicans on Friday endorsed the health care overhaul bill crafted by GOP leaders and the White House, saying President Donald Trump had agreed to changes they favored minutes earlier during an Oval Office meeting. With a vote on the so-called American Health Care Act scheduled for this coming Thursday in the House, the news was welcomed by supporters of repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law.

Search for Billions to Pay for Border Wall Confronts Congress
Spicer told reporters Trump would seek to impose a 20 percent border tax on imports from Mexico

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s press briefing plays on C-SPAN as House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Senate Republican Conference chair John Thune, R-S.D., walk off stage following their media availability at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican leaders said Thursday they plan to pony up $12 billion to $15 billion in the coming months to begin construction of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, but that large sum of money may be just the first installment to fund a project that could cost taxpayers as much as $40 billion, according to some independent estimates.

In addition, Republicans face likely opposition not just from Democrats but also centrist Republicans and fiscal hawks who would balk at seeing that kind of tab added on to the deficit. Travis Hall, a spokesman for the House Republican Study Committee, said the conservative group will insist on offsets, as it has with supplemental appropriations in the past.

GOP Unity Goals Tested as Trump Arrives at Retreat
President moves on immigration actions, while lawmakers focus elsewhere

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s press briefing plays on C-SPAN as House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune walk off stage at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump is headed to the joint Republican retreat Thursday, where he will try to bridge the divide between the White House and the GOP-controlled Congress. But if Day One of the gathering was any indication, reaching consensus on some issues will be not be easy. 

Take immigration, an issue that has dogged Congress for years, and one that became central to Trump’s campaign. The president moved forward Wednesday with executive orders regarding immigration. But at the GOP retreat, addressing immigration issues was not a top priority, particularly compared to health care, taxes and even passing appropriations bills.

Torture Talk Clouds Opening of GOP Retreat
Liz Cheney, others back full review on enhanced interrogation

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, seen here in Philadelphia at the start of the GOP retreat, had to field questions about the use of torture because of President Donald Trump’s statements about its efficacy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

PHILADELPHIA — Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune might not have been expecting to get pressed on U.S. torture policy Wednesday, when speaking to the media assembled for the annual GOP issues retreat.

Lynn Jenkins Won’t Seek Any Political Office in 2018
Jenkins won’t run for 6th term in the House, may move into private sector

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., won’t run for re-election in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican from the 2nd District, announced Wednesday that she will not seek a 6th term in Congress, nor will she run for any political office in 2018.

“I will not be running for any office in 2018,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “In two years, at the conclusion of this Congress, I plan to retire and explore opportunities to return to the private sector, allowing a new citizen legislator to step up and serve Kansans,” Jenkins wrote.

History Provides Trump a Guide for His Inaugural Address
Changes in party rule show how presidents both praise and criticize

An aide to President-elect Donald Trump, seen here at a news conference on Jan. 11 at Trump Tower in New York City, says his inaugural address will be “unique to him.” (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Newly sworn-in American presidents taking over for a predecessor of another political party have employed a number of rhetorical approaches from which Donald Trump could choose to borrow on Friday. Trump has met with historians and watched past inaugural addresses, but a top aide said his first speech as president will be “unique to him.”

Given the unprecedented tone of both his campaigning style and brash tenor during the transition period, anything is possible when the new president steps to the podium bearing the seal of the president around noon Friday. It is a safe bet some or most of Trump’s address will sound much different than those delivered in the past. 

House Republican Women See a Boost in Authority
3 committees, other powerful posts newly under control of 21-person caucus

Texas Rep. Kay Granger is the new chairwoman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which drives the allocation of more than half a trillion dollars annually to the military. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For the past four years, Republicans endured pointed barbs about how the only woman with a House committee gavel was presiding over the fittingly sexist-sounding “housekeeping committee,” the Hill’s nickname for the panel overseeing the Capitol’s internal operations.

That’s not a fair jape anymore. Exactly a century after the arrival of the first female elected to Congress, Jeannette Rankin of Montana, her GOP successors will be wielding more titular power in the Republican-run House than ever. Women will soon be presiding over three standing committees, a record for the party, while a fourth has taken over what’s arguably the chamber’s single most consequential subcommittee, because it takes the lead in apportioning more than half of all discretionary federal spending.

House GOP Group Launches Digital Campaign for Health Care Plan
American Action Network will target 28 House districts

American Action Network is running digital ads about the House Republicans’ health care law replacement efforts in Ohio’s 4th District, held by former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

An outside group affiliated with House GOP leadership is ramping up its advertising campaign for a Republican alternative to the 2010 health care law, running $400,000 in digital ads across 28 congressional districts. 

American Action Network, a conservative nonprofit advocacy organization, is launching its first digital campaign of the year Friday, when the House is expected to vote on the budget resolution that would begin the process of repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. 

Kaiser Poll Shows Split on Health Law Repeal but Consensus on Costs
Most polled don’t think the changes will affect them personally

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Vice President-elect Mike Pence, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., appear after a Jan. 4 meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol to discuss a strategy to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The American public is split on how Congress should address the future of health care, according to a new poll from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Forty-seven percent of people who were polled don’t think that Congress should repeal the 2010 health care overhaul. Another 28 percent of people responding do want it repealed but want to see a replacement plan before a repeal vote is taken, while 20 percent favor an immediate repeal vote with plan details to be worked out later.