South Dakota

Regular Order? Maybe Not For Alexander-Murray Bill
A markup could open door to partisan battle over the 2010 health law

Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member, are seen during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Dirksen Building titled "Examining How Healthy Choices Can Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Costs," on October 19. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A committee markup of a bipartisan health bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray could add another potentially fatal complication for the measure that is already under significant pressure.

Senators from both parties have for months decried the lack of regular order in the chamber as Republicans tried to jam through legislation to repeal the 2010 health law.

Hatch Deals Blow to Bipartisan Health Care Bill
Prospects dim after opposition from Senate Finance chairman

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch is opposed to an emerging bipartisan measure to stabilize the health insurance markets. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has dealt an emerging bipartisan health care bill a body blow.

President Donald Trump has sent mixed messages on his stance on the legislation from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and ranking Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, saying he opposed it Wednesday after saying he supported it Tuesday

Poll: Most Americans Disapprove of Trump’s Subsidy Slash
Two senators reached bipartisan deal Tuesday to fund cost-reducing subsidies

Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., reached an agreement Tuesday to fund cost-sharing reduction payments the president axed from the executive schedule last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Most Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s decision to end Obama-era federal subsidies to insurers that lower costs for low- and middle-income families, a new poll found.

Fifty-three percent of respondents to an Economist/YouGov poll conducted Oct. 15 and 16 said they disapproved of the executive move, compared to 31 percent who were in favor. Sixteen percent declined to give an opinion.

Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal on Health Care
Alexander, Murray have an agreement on stabilizing insurance marketplaces

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander and ranking member Patty Murray have a tentative deal on legislation to stabilize the insurance marketplaces. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander said he has reached an agreement with Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the panel’s ranking Democrat, on a limited deal to stabilize the individual health insurance markets.

Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, briefed GOP senators on that deal during their weekly policy lunch Tuesday.

Who Benefits From the State and Local Tax Deduction?
Roll Call analysis finds higher-income earners reap substantial returns from the deduction

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch is among the “Big Six” Republican tax negotiators. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

A fight within the Republican Party over a proposal to eliminate the state and local tax deduction threatens the future of the GOP effort to overhaul the U.S. tax code.

Battle lines have been drawn, as lawmakers from states that see substantial benefit from the deduction — such as New Jersey and New York — are already sounding alarms at the proposal to remove it. 

House GOP Shows ‘Overwhelming’ Interest in Bipartisan Bump Stock Bill
Speaker Paul Ryan opens door for House to consider legislative action on the devices

Rep. Carlos Curbelo said his office has been “overwhelmed” by bipartisan support for a forthcoming bill restricting access to bump stocks, rifle accessories that increase the rate of fire. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s office has received dozens of calls from lawmakers in both parties who have demonstrated interest in a bill he and Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts plan to introduce that will limit access to bump stocks, rifle accessories that effectively convert semiautomatic rifles into rapid-fire ones.

The Florida Republican said he has been “overwhelmed” by interest from GOP colleagues in the measure he and his staff are producing.

Key Republican Lawmakers Open to Considering Bump Stock Ban
Las Vegas shooter had 12 rifles outfitted with device that effectively made them fully automatic

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn indicated Wednesday he would consider looking into a ban on rifle bump stocks. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Some members of congressional Republican leadership have expressed a willingness to explore legislation banning bump stocks, the attachment that the Las Vegas shooter used to effectively make semiautomatic rifles fire at the rate of automatic ones.

Investigators in Las Vegas found that 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who killed at least 59 people and injured more than 520 in a mass shooting there late Sunday night, had 12 rifles fitted with bump stocks in the 32nd-floor hotel room from which he fired upon a crowd outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Opinion: When Silence Says Everything
Elected officials are not about to take a stand

Americans are becoming used to abhorrent events, such as the Las Vegas shooting, and wonder if anything can be done to make things better, Curtis writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The parable of the frog being boiled alive — with the poor creature jumping out immediately if the water is red hot, but, if the heat is cranked up slowly, not realizing its plight until it’s too late — may not be based on science (so don’t try this on little Croaky). But in politics, sweating officials are still doing the backstroke.

Americans are becoming used to abhorrent events, shocked, and wondering if anything can be done to make things better. After every man-made or natural disaster, or every statement from a leader that crosses the line, we wonder if the water will ever be hot enough to get a rise out of those in charge. So we do the best we can.

Republicans Face Messaging Battle on Tax Overhaul
Health care defeat spurs heightened awareness of the upcoming messaging battle on taxes

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have unveiled a framework for their tax measure and already face a messaging battle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The messaging battle over a pending overhaul of the U.S. tax code has begun. And while Republicans say they feel confident they will overcome the opposition this time around, a lingering defeat on health care continues to concern proponents.

The administration and congressional GOP leaders last week unveiled a framework for the still unreleased tax legislation. It immediately set off a cascade of reaction — positive and negative — as Republicans labeled it a middle-class tax break and Democrats called it a giveaway for the rich.

Senate Considers Broadening Budget Resolution
Move would allow GOP to legislate on more topics without filibuster fear

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves after speaking to reporters in the Capitol following the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is considering beefing up the fiscal 2018 budget resolution to address a broader swath of issues beyond a tax overhaul, including the rollback of regulations on the financial industry, lawmakers said.

The additions might not be included in the Senate’s version before a floor vote, lawmakers said, but could be added during an expected conference with the House. The Senate Budget Committee begins its markup of the budget resolution Wednesday.