Mark Sanford

House Health Care Bill Teetering on the Brink of Failing
Nearly enough firm Republican ‘no’ votes to sink it

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said he opposes the GOP-backed health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photos)

By LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN/CQ ROLL CALL

The GOP health care bill appears poised for failure with at least 19 Republicans committed to voting “no,” absent additional substantial changes, and several more likely to join them in opposition. 

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”

3 GOP Dissenters as Budget Committee Passes Health Care Plan
Reps. Sanford, Brat, Palmer vote against sending to full House

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., was one of three House Freedom Caucus members to vote against the health care plan in the Budget Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Budget Committee on Thursday approved 19-17 a motion to send the Republican legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care to the full House for consideration.

Republican Reps. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Dave Brat of Virginia, and Gary Palmer of Alabama — all members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — voted against the motion, despite a plea from panel chairwoman Diane Black of Tennessee.

Senate Budget Rule Could Hamper GOP Push on Defense, Taxes
Republicans are already divided over how much to cut spending

Republicans on the House Budget Committee, led by Tennessee Rep. Diane Black, are already beginning to struggle with how much money to allocate to national defense and other funding categories as they work on the next budget resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A little-known Senate budget rule could pose a huge challenge to the GOP’s top priorities of increasing defense spending and cutting taxes this year. 

Providing more funds to the military and rewriting the tax code both depend on the House and Senate agreeing to a fiscal 2018 budget resolution. The fiscal blueprint would set an enforceable topline for appropriators and provide reconciliation instructions allowing a tax overhaul to advance in the Senate with a simple 51-vote majority.

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.

Trump Joint Address Spotlights Deep Partisan Divide
Lawmakers left to interpret president's statements on pet issues

President Donald Trump greets mostly Republican members after addressing a joint session of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When President Donald Trump exited the House chamber after his first address to a joint session of Congress, one half of the floor was almost completely empty.

Democrats headed for the exits after Trump wrapped up his Tuesday night speech, while Republicans stayed to applaud. The floor became the embodiment of partisan divisions that persist in Congress, especially when it comes to Democrats’ willingness to work with the bombastic new president. 

GOP Leaders Brought Big League Policy Differences to Trump Speech
Health care, spending top issues in dispute

From left, Sen. Cory Gardner , McConnell Sen. John Thune and Cornyn fielded questions about White House policy on Tuesday after the Senate Policy luncheons. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Hours before President Donald Trump delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress, Republican leaders went about the normal business of the congressional workweek, keeping their scheduled media availabilities and playing down differences among their own members and the administration on big-ticket policy items like health care and government spending levels. 

“I feel at the end of the day, when we get everything done and right, we’re going to be unified on this,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday morning. The Wisconsin Republican was responding to questions about two top conservatives — House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker — who announced the previous day they could not support a draft GOP leadership plan to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

Conservatives Want Obamacare Repeal, and They Want It Now
Ted Cruz rejects John Boehner's contention that repeal and replace won't happen

Jim DeMint president of the Heritage Foundation, told conservatives at CPAC to keep the charge going to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By NIELS LESNIEWSKI and LINDSEY McPHERSON, CQ Roll Call 

OXON HILL, Md. — Conservatives rallying here are calling for their congressional brethren to keep the faith and quickly gut the 2010 health care law, dismissing concerns about lost health coverage and motivated voters at town halls.

Town Hall Winners and Losers So Far
If lawmakers can’t meet with constituents, why do they have a job?

Voters don’t always need to be agreed with, but they always want to be heard — and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., delivered on that, Patricia Murphy writes. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

We’re halfway through the Presidents Day recess, the first during President Donald Trump’s first term in office. Coming after early stumbles from Trump, and with major legislative changes looming for health care and immigration, and the ascendance of a national effort to protest the president’s agenda, it’s no surprise that town halls would become a focal point for the anger swirling on the left. 

[It’s Not “AstroTurf” if the anger is real]

Photos of the Week: Puppies, Pence and Press Conferences
The week of Feb. 13 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As a resignation and withdrawn Cabinet nominee rocked the White House this week, Congress was at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue proceeding through consideration of several other Cabinet nominees, debating Obamacare alternatives and much more. 

On the lighter side of this Valentine's Day week, some pets up for adoption stopped by the Capitol to bring love to staffers and members alike.