Lindsey Graham

White House Health Care Full-Court Press Changes Few Minds
Trump, Ryan lack needed 216 votes in House, says Freedom Caucus chairman

President Donald Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price arrive in the Capitol to meet with the House Republican Conference about the party’s health overhaul bill on Tuesday morning. Despite Trump’s full-court press, there was little evidence he changed many minds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A White House in full-court press mode deployed President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to call out and fire up Republican members about the party’s health care overhaul bill, but there was scant evidence it worked.

Trump made a rare morning trek to the Capitol’s basement in his quest for the 216 Republican votes, where he addressed the GOP House caucus with his signature brashness: Members present said he called out reluctant members, including Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, by name. A few hours later, Pence tried to keep skeptical GOP senators in the loop about what kind of bill they might soon receive.

Trump Budget Slashes Nondefense Spending to Boost Pentagon
Plan calls for eliminating Legal Services Corporation, National Endowment for the Arts, and others

Copies of President Donald Trump’s overview of budget priorities for fiscal year 2018, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” are put on display at the Government Publishing Office in Washington on Thursday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled the first portion of his fiscal 2018 budget request, a discretionary spending plan that includes new funds for a major military buildup and severe cuts to federal agencies certain to be strongly resisted by lawmakers on both sides. 

Among the hardest hit agencies under Trump’s “skinny” budget proposal are the State Department and the EPA, which would see a 28 percent and 31 percent reduction from enacted levels, respectively.

Bipartisan Road Trip Arrives at the Capitol Just in Time for Votes
Reps. Will Hurd and Beto O'Rourke completed the trip from Texas

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, left, and Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, walk up the House steps at the Capitol just in time for votes on on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Forty minutes before a House vote on Wednesday, Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Republican Rep. Will Hurd pulled up to the House steps, making the completion of their bipartisan road trip.

The two Texas congressmen decided to road trip together from San Antonio to Washington, D.C., after the East Coast’s winter storm caused flight cancellations earlier in the week. The more than 24-hour trip, which included several stops and a few hours for sleep, ended with a tight arrival to work.

CBO: Lower Deficit, More Uninsured Under House Health Plan
Nonpartisan budget scorekeepers predict savings, uninsured would grow

Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy have been pushing their health plan hard. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:37 p.m. | The House Republican leadership’s legislation to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over a decade while increasing the number of uninsured by 24 million people by 2026, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday.

The nonpartisan budget scorekeepers predicted that under the House GOP plan — which was scheduled for consideration by the House Budget Committee on Thursday to be packaged as a reconciliation bill that would only require a majority to pass in the Senate —  the biggest savings would come as a result of decreased funding to Medicaid and cutting off subsidies for individuals to purchase insurance on the health care exchanges. It would also lower average premiums enough to stabilize the individual health insurance market, according to the “score” of the legislation.

Senators Cranky About Appropriations Process
Little appetite for another continuing resolution

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had spoken against punting on appropriations bills last fall with a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“I will never vote for a CR again.”

That was all the normally talkative Sen. Lindsey Graham cared to say when asked about the prospect of completing his State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill this year, or, as has become custom, funding that part of the government through another continuing resolution. The South Carolina Republican wants to create a new account to help countries in Eastern Europe battle Russian propaganda, something that wouldn’t happen if spending is just put on auto-pilot through a CR. 

GOP Members on Trump: Health Care Measure is 'His Bill'
Trump will put 'presidential weight behind this legislation,' key chairman says

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (far right) trails President Donald Trump into the House chamber last Tuesday night before the president’s first address to a joint session of Congress. A week later, Scalise and his deputy whips made clear Trump also owns a health care overhaul bill they released this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A parade of lawmakers huddled privately with Donald Trump on Tuesday, with several senior House Republicans ending the procession by stating that the president owns their bill to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

In all, 25 House members and senators streamed through the executive mansion on a day when the Trump White House was eager to portray a unified Republican Party getting down to the details of the president’s policy agenda. Those who spoke after their meetings with Trump described the meetings, which lasted from lunchtime to late afternoon, as “great” and “very productive.”

Trump Travel Ban Part II Could Put GOP in Tough Spot
Defying polls, president signs second executive order

Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., speaks with an ACLU legal observer during the protest at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Jan. 29. Protests erupted at airports around the country following President Trump’s since-frozen executive order restricting travel from several Islamic countries; on Monday, he signed a revised version. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump’s second generation travel ban on individuals from several Muslim-majority countries could put his fellow Republicans in a tough spot.

The new order, signed Monday, comes after federal courts blocked an earlier version and despite polls showing most Americans oppose it.

Analysis: How Rank-and-File Republicans Overruled Trump on Sessions Recusal
Leaders provided cover, but other GOP members forced AG to stand down

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley had some discreet advice for his former Senate colleague, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump told winning contestants, “You’re hired.” But it was congressional Republican lawmakers who overruled the new president and told Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “You’re relieved.” 

As pressure mounted on Sessions over his campaign-season meetings with Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, the president expressed his “total” confidence in the former Alabama senator. Republican leaders provided Sessions cover. But Trump’s view was not enough to keep Sessions involved in any Justice Department investigation involving Trump’s campaign and its contacts with Russian officials.

Sanford, Jones Split With GOP on Trump’s Taxes
Two House Republicans essentially sided with Democrats on the issue

South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford voted ‘present’ on a Democratic resolution aimed at obtaining President Donald Trump's tax returns for the last 10 years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 12:30 p.m. March 3 | Republican Reps. Mark Sanford and Walter B. Jones have occasionally bucked their party, so their stance on a procedural question this week about President Donald Trump’s tax returns is noteworthy. 

Sanford of South Carolina and Jones of North Carolina voted “present” on Monday night as the House decided along party lines, 229-185, to effectively block a vote on a resolution by New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell Jr. aimed at directing the Ways and Means Committee to obtain Trump’s tax returns for the past 10 years.