Kentucky

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.

Energy, Interior Nominees Caught in Budget Crossfire
Energy and Natural Resources hearing becomes forum on Trump budget cuts

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken expressed hope that one Energy Department nominee would be “a voice of reason and experience.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee used a Thursday confirmation hearing for a deputy Energy secretary and two other regulators to question elements of the Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal.

The confirmation hearing for Dan Brouillette to be Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s deputy included questions from senators seeking clarity from the nominee about his views of some of the more controversial proposals in the Trump budget, including the plan to draw down by half the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Can Quist Chart Path for Other Democrats to Follow?
While national Democrats focus on Trump and Russia, Montana House candidate talks health care

Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist talks with supporters during a Get Out The Vote Canvass Launch event in Great Falls, Mont., on Monday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

While national Democrats compile lists of President Donald Trump’s controversial statements, firings, and ties to Russia as ammunition for upcoming campaigns, Democrat Rob Quist is taking a different approach.

Though Quist’s Republican opponent for Montana’s at-large seat in Congress, businessman Greg Gianforte, is favored to win the special election Thursday, Quist has gained ground recently. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales changed the race from a Likely Republican rating to Tilts Republican on Monday. His campaign announced Tuesday that he's raised more than $6 million, which has been crucial in the final days of the race.

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.

Opinion: Democrats May Be Too Optimistic About 2018 Gains
Ghosts of racial discord still haunt the South

Congressional districts in North Carolina were too racially driven even for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican-drawn congressional districts in North Carolina turned out to be too racially driven for a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives — with Justice Clarence Thomas siding with the majority.

Who’d have thought it?

Annual Capitol Insiders Survey: The Trump Effect
Tensions on the Hill from last year have carried over into 2017

Republicans staffers on Capitol Hill are still not comfortable with President Donald Trump, the latest Capitol Insiders Survey finds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last year’s election was humbling for pollsters, and the Capitol Insiders Survey was no exception. The vast majority of congressional staffers surveyed by CQ Roll Call in the days before the election — 91 percent — predicted a Hillary Clinton win. Only 6 percent thought Donald Trump could pull it off.

Still, the results reflect how Trump’s win blindsided the Washington establishment. The majority of Republican aides said consistently during the campaign that they wouldn’t vote for Trump.

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.

Pence’s Battleground Stops, PAC Raise Eyebrows Amid Trump Scandals
VP’s office calls talk ‘ludicrous’ — but others see ‘too many coincidences’

Vice President Mike Pence leaves a meeting in the Capitol Visitor Center last Thursday. Two days later, he stopped in two presidential battleground states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, en route to his native Indiana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence has quietly spent his weekends visiting key battleground states, raising eyebrows in political circles about just what the ambitious politician is up to as scandals threaten Donald Trump’s presidency.

Last weekend provides a glaring — and fascinating — example. The former Indiana congressman and governor returned to the Hoosier State to deliver the commencement address at Notre Dame. But his route back home included stops in two perennial presidential battlegrounds: Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Health Care Leaks Get the Clampdown From McConnell
Obamacare repeal working group now open to all GOP senators

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly expressed annoyance at the number of leaks regarding the health care working group’s private discussions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY JOE WILLIAMS AND ERIN MERSHON

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a warning to staffers last week amid growing frustration at the amount of information leaking from private Republican discussions on repealing the 2010 health care law.

Trump Budget’s Chilly Reception Will Be Nothing New
Congress routinely rebuffed Obama budgets too

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, center, and GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks, right, reviewed production of the fiscal 208 budget proposal at the Government Publishing Office’s plant on North Capitol Street last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s budget request finally gets its full release Tuesday morning, but the stories of its inevitable rejection on Capitol Hill could have been written weeks ago.

There has been ample bipartisan skepticism of the proposed cuts to domestic programs coming out of Trump’s budget office for fiscal 2018, but overall, the reaction and follow through on it will not likely be much different than it ever was under President Barack Obama.