Maine

Democrats Eyeing Maine Natives to Unseat Bruce Poliquin
GOP sophomore starts with incumbency and financial advantage

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin has twice defeated Democrat Emily Cain, but if he seeks re-election in 2018, he’ll face a new challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin initially looked like a ripe target last cycle.

A freshman Republican, he was sitting in a longtime Democratic district former President Barack Obama comfortably carried twice. 

The GOP Full-Court, Post-Lunch Press on Health Care
After White House lunch, an effort to turn nays into ayes

Sen. Tim Scott and other Republican senators went to the White House for lunch on Wednesday to discuss their health care efforts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By John T. Bennett and Joe Williams

Senate Republicans are planning a last-ditch effort to revive their legislation to overhaul the U.S. insurance system after a lunch-time meeting on Wednesday afternoon with President Donald Trump.

Trump Dined on Rib-Eye, Cobbler With ‘Yes’ Votes as Health Care Bill Crumbled
White House defends dinner as ‘strategy session’ with vote-wranglers

President Donald Trump met Monday night with senators who were already expected to support the since-derailed Republican health care legislation. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As the Senate Republican health care bill began taking on water, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence dined on “rosemary-grilled” rib-eye steaks and “farm stand” peach cobbler with seven senators who were expected to support the legislation.

There was Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, a vocal proponent of the legislation, who was involved in writing it and led the effort to wrangle the necessary votes. The same was true of his fellow GOP leaders present, Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and Roy Blunt of Missouri. All were sure to vote for the bill.

Latest GOP Leadership Health Care Plan Bleeding Support
Some senators have doubts about repeal-only proposal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still appears to be short of the votes to get to a health care measure. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republican leaders continued to push their strategy to repeal the 2010 health care law, leaning on support from the White House even as their rank and file continued to express doubts about such an approach. 

“I regret that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failures of Obamacare will not be successful,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in his opening remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday morning. The Kentucky Republican wants his colleagues to vote soon on a procedural motion to get to the House-passed health care legislation so he can offer an amendment modeled on legislation Congress passed in 2015 to repeal the 2010 law.

McConnell Abandons Obamacare Repeal and Replace Effort
Announcement comes after Lee, Moran pulled support for health care bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is switching gears on health care after saying the effort to repeal and immediately replace the 2010 law has been unsuccessful. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated July 18, 2017, 12:14 a.m. | Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled the plug late Monday on the Republican effort to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system and pledged the chamber will now focus on only dismantling the 2010 health care law.

“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” the Kentucky Republican said.

McConnell Delays Obamacare Rollback While McCain Recovers From Surgery
McCain had surgery Friday to address a blood clot

Sen. John McCain is in good condition after surgery, but will remain in Arizona for now. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 10:40 p.m. | Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain is staying in Arizona next week, recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot, which will delay action on rolling back the 2010 health care law.

“Senator McCain received excellent treatment at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix, and appreciates the tremendous professionalism and care by its doctors and staff. He is in good spirits and recovering comfortably at home with his family,” McCain’s office said in a statement. “On the advice of his doctors, Senator McCain will be recovering in Arizona next week.”

Medicaid Still Key Sticking Point in GOP Health Debate
Additional changes impacting the entitlement program are under consideration

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is one of several GOP members who have not yet publicized their position on the revised bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellunveiled an updated bill to overhaul the U.S. insurance system, lawmakers hesitant about the proposed changes to Medicaid huddled in the Kentucky Republican’s office in search of a solution.

The members, which included Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Rob Portman of Ohio, were also joined by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.

New GOP Health Care Draft Keeps Major Medicaid Changes
Includes a few small revisions in an effort to bring on hesitant lawmakers

Senate Republican leadership on Thursday released updated language for their legislation to repeal and replace large portions of the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:43 p.m. | The updated Senate Republican health care bill to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system makes a number of tweaks designed to win the support of GOP holdouts, but maintains the significant changes to the Medicaid program that continues to be the foundation of the entire legislation.

An analysis of the new draft unveiled Thursday — which would pour billions more into a state fund intended to help lower premiums — from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is expected to be released Monday, with a procedural vote on the measure occurring early next week.

Centrist Project Charts Path for Electing Independents
Alaska Governor, independent officials discuss how to win elections without parties

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker was among the Independent politicians who discussed a movement to elect nonpartisan candidates to Congress and statehouses at the National Press Club on Wednesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

When Alaska Governor Bill Walker first ran for the state’s highest office in 2010, he faced a problem: many of his friends and supporters couldn’t vote for him in the closed Republican primary because they weren’t affiliated with the party.

Insurance Lobby Warns Against Cruz Amendment

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has sponsored an amendment to the GOP health bill that the health insurance industry opposes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Health insurance lobbying groups are raising concerns about a proposed amendment to the Senate health care bill, warning that a proposal from Sen. Ted Cruz would destabilize and fracture the individual insurance market.

The Texas Republican is pushing to allow insurers to sell policies on the federal exchanges that don’t meet the regulations laid out in the 2010 health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), so long as an insurer offers one plan that does comply with the law. Senate leaders hope to bring the health care bill to the floor next week.