Shelley Moore Capito

McConnell Opens Door to Health Care Vote Next Week

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is pushing hard on his legislation to rework the U.S. health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders are preparing to hold a vote on an alternative to the 2010 health care law next week, although 50 Republicans have not confirmed they would vote for the proposal.

“It is the Leader’s intention to consider Graham-Cassidy on the floor next week,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Wednesday in an email.

Republicans Cast Aside Previous Concerns in Latest Repeal Effort
Senators cite the flexibility included in the proposal as justification for the reversal

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is one of several GOP lawmakers who have expressed serious concerns about the impact of prior GOP proposals to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republican senators face the prospect of retreating from their previous public stances in order to support fast-moving legislation that would significantly overhaul the U.S. health care system.

Concerns about the impact on people suffering from opioid addiction, drastic cuts to Medicaid and the lack of robust analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office appear to have vanished as the GOP hopes to advance a bill to repeal the 2010 health care law before the fast-track budget reconciliation mechanism they are using expires on Sept. 30.

Word on the Hill: Drawing a Line on Good Taste
Opioid discussion, one week until the Press Club’s spelling bee

From left, Steve Hendrickson as Frank Butley, Jacqueline Correa as Tania Del Valle, Dan Domingues as Pablo Del Valle, and Sally Wingert as Virginia Butley in “Native Gardens,” running through Oct. 22 at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. (Courtesy Dan Norman/Guthrie Theater)

Native Gardens” opened at the Mead Center for American Theater on Friday. The play runs until Oct. 22 at the center’s Arena Stage.

The comedy features actors Jacqueline Correa and Dan Domingues as Tania and Pablo Del Valle, a couple who move to Washington, D.C., next door to Frank and Virginia Butley, played by Steve Hendrickson and Sally Wingert. Pablo is a young lawyer and Tania is a pregnant Ph.D. candidate while the Butleys are a deeply rooted D.C. couple.

Floods May Focus Lawmakers on Insurance Program Deep in the Red
Program’s current funds probably not enough to cover claims

Residents are evacuated from their homes after severe flooding following Hurricane Harvey in north Houston August 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Parts of southeast Texas have received more than 40 inches of rain since Harvey made landfall on Friday, with more torrential rain expected the next several days. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Hurricane Harvey, on track to cause some of  the worst flooding in U.S. history, stands to complicate efforts by Congress to reauthorize next month a federal flood insurance program that’s already about $24.6 billion in debt.

The Gulf Coast floods from Harvey, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency calls “one of the worst disasters in Texas history,” threatens to deepen the debt of the National Flood Insurance Program before the Sept. 30 reauthorization deadline. The program administered by FEMA provides flood coverage to more than 4.9 million policyholders, including 593,115 in Texas.

Senate Republicans Face Key Tax Overhaul Decisions
Effort remains in nascent stages in the face of looming deadlines

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says the GOP debate over rewriting the tax code pits the establishment, who oppose proposals that would add to the deficit, against conservatives who would “rather see a tax cut.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans have not yet come to a consensus on several crucial decisions that must be made before any serious work begins on legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code.

Complicating that effort are a number of pressing deadlines the chamber faces, including funding the government past the end of September, the upcoming debt ceiling, and a pending reauthorization of a popular children’s health insurance program. 

Analysis: Health Care Failure to Haunt Republicans Over Recess
Lawmakers call relationship with White House a ‘work in progress’

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leaves the Capitol on Thursday after the last votes in the Senate before the August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans departed on Thursday for a 32-day recess with key victories overshadowed by a momentous defeat on their effort to overhaul the 2010 health care law.

Lawmakers left Capitol Hill for the extended break after several months of tumult, much of which stemmed from a nascent Trump administration fraught with self-inflicted scandals and lacking in traditional political experience.

White House Opioid Panel Pushes Access to Treatment

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, whose state of West Virginia has been ravaged by opiods, says more needs to be done to address the crisis. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

An advisory commission is urging President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency with regard to opioid abuse and addiction, among other recommendations to address a crisis that is claiming upward of 30,000 lives every year.

An emergency declaration “would empower your Cabinet to take bold steps and would force Congress to focus on funding,” said a new draft report from the White House circulated on Monday.

Some GOP Skepticism of Sending Obamacare Repeal to Conference
Questions about what the ‘skinny’ bill would produce

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has some concerns about what may happen when the House and Senate go to conference on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Several senators are expressing skepticism about the emerging Republican plan to pass a bill rolling back “skinny” pieces of the 2010 health care law and then hope for a broader agreement in a conference committee with the House.

Kansas Republican Jerry Moran, who was one of the senators who came out against the broader Senate health care bill, told Roll Call he is concerned about entering a conference without a real Senate position.

Opinion: ‘Values’ Are Relative When Rooting for Your Political Team
Demonization is easier than appreciating the virtues of opponents

President Donald Trump waves as he walks to Marine One while departing from the White House to Beaver, West Virginia, on Monday to address the Boy Scouts’ 2017 jamboree. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In his wary optimism after the U.S. Senate voted to proceed with debate on dismantling President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act and replacing it with, well, something, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he and his supporters were “not out here to spike the football.”

In this case, the cliched sports metaphor fit.

Senate Rejects Obamacare 'Repeal and Delay' Proposal
Updated 2015 proposal turned back as health care reconciliation debate continues

Sen. Rand Paul has championed the “repeal and delay” approach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans on Wednesday were unable to garner the votes necessary to pass a measure to repeal large portions of the 2010 health law with a two-year delay.

Seven GOP senators joined with Democrats to sink the proposal, 45-55. The failure highlights the continued struggle Senate Republican leadership is facing in coalescing their conference around one health care proposal. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rob Portman of Ohio voted no.