Susan Collins

Republicans to Weigh Surplus of Tax Policy Options
Standalone bills provide a glimpse into senators’ priorities

South Dakota Sen. John Thune has introduced several standalone bills that could be wrapped into a broader overhaul of the U.S. tax code. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Legislation introduced by Republican senators over the past several months could help guide the upcoming debate on an overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

While the effort is still in the adolescent stage, the bills provide an early look into the priorities members will push for during the forthcoming tax negotiations.

Trump Goes Back to Flogging McConnell Over Health Care
President’s attack Thursday afternoon comes after taking more encouraging tone

President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the GOP’s recent failure to pass health care legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 4:27 p.m. | President Donald Trump took on a more threatening tone toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday after a meandering series of messages earlier in the day.

The president started the day with a tweet that criticized the Kentucky Republican for a second day for failing to pass a health care bill, before offering an olive branch of encouragement by lunchtime.

Opinion: Why HELP Could Be on the Way for Obamacare Recipients
Hopeful signs of bipartisan consensus on fixing health care markets

Senate HELP Committee leaders Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray could help spear bipartisan consensus in Congress for a short-term fix for Americans struggling to afford health insurance, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lamar Alexander had barely announced his plans to hold hearings next month on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on stabilizing the insurance markets for Obamacare when the idea started getting panned.

Keep in mind there are no specific hearings scheduled yet, no witnesses, no bill written, and few parameters of what is on or off the table. Alexander, the committee chairman, has only said that he wants a final product to be “small, bipartisan, and balanced,” but he hasn’t said what that means, other than flexibility for states and short-term triage for the exchanges.

Enzi Plans September Budget Markup as McConnell Urges Speed

Chairman Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., takes his seat for the Senate Budget Committee to order for the hearing with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the President’s budget proposals on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi told Republicans Thursday he intends to mark up a fiscal 2018 budget resolution in September.

In addition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with Republicans on the Budget Committee late Thursday morning and charged them with producing a budget resolution after the recess.

Murkowski and Zinke Mend Fences Over Beers
Comes after reports that Interior secretary threatened Alaska senator over health care vote

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke takes a selfie with Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski sharing a Alaskan craft beer. (Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke via Twitter)

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski met to mend fences over beers to settle their feud over the senator’s vote on the Republican health care bill.

Zinke tweeted a photo of himself and the Alaska Republican holding what appears to be a local pale ale.

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.

Opinion: Trump’s Ratings Hold Steady, but Is He Losing Key Groups He Needs to Stay on Top?
Military, law enforcement and GOP stalwarts now questioning the star

Leaders of groups President Donald Trump depends on — from the military to law enforcement to an increasing number of Republicans — are breaking ranks, Curtis writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“You’re fired!” was the reality show refrain of the now president of the United States, Donald Trump. So when, on the campaign trail, candidate Trump said, “I alone can fix it,” with “it” meaning whatever was ailing the country and each one of its citizens, it was easy to for someone looking for answers to transfer his my-way-or-the-highway TV decisiveness to Oval Office success.

Could “The Apprentice” boss have bought into his own hype on the way to the White House, forgetting the behind-the-scenes writers and producers, and the reality of life after the director yells, “Cut”?

Opinion: Forget the Moderates, Only the Die-Hards Can Get Health Care Back on Track
Kennedy and Hatch a great example of working across the aisle

Sens. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, left, and Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts at a 1997 press conference introducing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If the failure of health care reform taught us anything last week, it’s that somebody somewhere in Washington is going to have to start compromising if anything is ever going to get done.

But if you’re thinking a successful compromise is going to come from moderates like Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, or Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., think again. Although those senators’ roles will be important, all of the moderates from both parties together still don’t have enough votes to pass legislation.

What’s Next for Dean Heller After Health Care Votes?
Nevada lawmaker is the most vulnerable GOP senator

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller makes his way to the Senate chamber for a series of votes on repealing the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Dean Heller’s vote to support a bill to repeal the 2010 health care law — while rejecting others — may make an already tough re-election campaign even harder.

The Nevada Republican was already facing pressure from voters on the left and the right, his own party’s leadership and the White House going into last week’s Senate health care votes. That’s not all going away just because the votes are over.

Poll: Americans Want to Move On From Obamacare Repeal
Reuters/Ipsos poll shows support for health law splits down party lines

A new Retuers/Ipsos poll found that only 29 percent of Americans said health care reform was their top priority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A majority of Americans want members of Congress to ditch health care reform efforts and focus their attention elsewhere, according to a Reuters/Iposos poll conducted after the Senate Republicans’ effort crashed early Friday.

The new poll shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans want to keep the 2010 health care law, either “entirely as is” or after reforming “problem areas.” This was an increase from January, when just over half of Americans agreed with that sentiment.