Politics

Trump Labels Notion He's Not Involved in Senate Health Debate a ‘Joke!’
‘I know subject well,' president tweets about health care after report that he doesn’t

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Senate Republicans at the East Room of the White House on Tuesday to discuss the GOP health care bill. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A day after a vote on a Senate health care bill he backed was delayed, President Donald Trump pushed back against reports that he has not taken a hands-on role in crafting the measure or garnering ample votes to pass it.

Trump used one of his typical morning tweets to lash out at a narrative that has emerged in recent days, including a New York Times piece posted online Tuesday evening, describing the president as not heavily involved in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to piece together a package that would repeal and replace Barack Obama’s 2010 health law and then find the 50 votes to pass it (with Vice President Mike Pence casting the 51st and final necessary vote).

Republican Opposition to Health Care Bill Mounts
McConnell’s margins appear to be slipping

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., conclude a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheon in the Capitol on June 27, 2017, where McConnell told senators there would be no vote on the health care bill this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

BY JOE WILLIAMS and NIELS LESNIEWSKI

Republican opposition to legislation to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system grew after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chose to delay a vote on the measure until after the upcoming Fourth of July recess, a sign of the challenges GOP leadership faces in crafting legislation with support solely from their own party.

GOP Struggles With Message on Repealing Health Care Taxes
Plans to kill levies imposed by 2010 law slammed by Democrats

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady is the GOP point man for the overhaul of the tax code. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When Democrats enacted two taxes on wealthy families to help finance the 2010 health care law, Republicans predicted the levies would be politically unpopular and would not survive.

Now, the GOP faces a partisan messaging battle over plans to end a Medicare payroll surtax and a separate tax on investment income that are both levied on taxpayers earning more than $200,000 (for an individual) and $250,000 (for a married couple).

Pro-Trump Group Pulls Heller Ad After Backlash
Senate Republicans say ads against members of their own party not productive

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said he would not support proceeding to the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A political group aligned with President Donald Trump is pulling its ad targeting a Republican senator for opposing the GOP health care plan, following a backlash from lawmakers who criticized the group for going after a member of their own party.

America First Policies had television ads on the air targeting one Republican and eight Democrats on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The group’s decision to target GOP Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada after he said he would not support the bill drew sharp criticism from Senate Republicans. Politico first reported Tuesday evening that the group is pulling the ad and a spokeswoman confirmed the move. 

Trump Huddles With GOP Senators as McConnell Issues Warning
At White House, majority leader says Republicans would lose leverage in talks with Dems

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, seen here at the Capitol on Tuesday, has major concerns about the Senate health care legislation. She sat next to the president at Tuesday's White House meeting on health care. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump summoned Senate Republicans to the White House on Tuesday to discuss differences that are holding up a GOP leadership crafted health bill, declaring talks are “very close” to producing a deal and that it would be “OK” if the effort fails.

The Republican senators boarded busses outside the Capitol and made the short trek down Pennsylvania Avenue shortly after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky announced a vote on a still-evolving health overhaul measure would be delayed until after next week’s July Fourth recess. The move offered Trump, who held a Rose Garden victory celebration after the House passed its version in May, an opportunity to again cast himself as the dealmaker in chief.

Rand Paul Says Trump Open to His Health Care Ideas
Not so sure about Senate GOP leadership

Sen. Rand Paul said he had a positive meeting with President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul came away from a meeting on Tuesday with President Donald Trump thinking that the administration would be willing to move the health care reconciliation package in his direction.

Paul has called for more of a straight repeal of the 2010 health care law, rather than the partial repeal and replace represented by the measure crafted by Senate GOP leaders.

Gianforte Alma Mater Weighing Whether to Keep Name on Building
Stevens Institute of Technology forming community review process

The alma mater of Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte has convened a committee to decide whether his name should be on a building for which his family’s foundation has pledged $20 million. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Stevens Institute of Technology is initiating a review process to determine whether Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte’s name will be on a new academic building for which his family’s philanthropic foundation pledged $20 million. 

Gianforte, a 1983 graduate of the university in Hoboken, New Jersey, was sworn into Congress last week after pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault for body-slamming a reporter on the eve of the special election for Montana’s at-large House seat.

Senate Republicans Delay Vote on Health Care Bill
GOP leaders say more time needed to negotiate the proposal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, and Vice President Mike Pence are still looking for the GOP votes to advance their legislation to redo the U.S. health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By JOE WILLIAMS and NIELS LESNIEWSKI, Roll Call

The Senate will not vote this week on a Republican bill to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system despite continued pressure from conservative activists and the Trump administration to act.

Warren: ‘The Next Step is Single-Payer’
Massachusetts senator says it’s time for Democrats to back national single-payer health care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., conducts a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol, March 14, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Elizabeth Warrensaid Tuesday that opposing the Republican health care bill wasn’t enough, and the Democratic Party should start running on a new national single-payer plan.

“President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer.”

Budget Disagreements Bedevil House GOP

House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black, R-Tenn., continues to look for agreement amid GOP factions on the spending blueprint. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Budget Committee is unlikely to unveil a fiscal 2018 budget resolution until after the Independence Day recess as Chairwoman Diane Black continues to struggle to marry competing interests on using the reconciliation process to cut mandatory spending.

Conservatives are pushing for several hundred billion dollars in mandatory savings cuts through reconciliation, with House Freedom Caucus members saying the Budget Committee’s latest offer of $200 billion in cuts over 10 years is not enough to win their support. Meanwhile, committee chairmen are pushing back on a continually increasing target, saying they need to preserve some of those savings for other legislative negotiations.

Ted Kennedy Jr. Isn’t Running for Connecticut Governor
State senator withdraws name from contention

A source close to state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. had put his odds of running for Connecticut governor at 90 percent. (TedKennedyJr.com)

Connecticut state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. announced Monday that he is not running for governor of the state, despite previous signals that he was considering it.

“I will not be a candidate for statewide office in 2018. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has contacted me and encouraged me to run. I value the contribution I am able to make as the state Senator for the 12th District,” Kennedy said in a statement, the Middletown Press reported.

Kasich on Health Care Bill: ‘Not Acceptable’
Ohio governor says he’s worried about bill’s effects on mentally and chronically ill, and working poor

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, right, and Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper discuss the Senate health care reform bill at the National Press Club on Tuesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich didn’t want to talk about how Ohio Sen. Rob Portman might vote on the Republican health care bill.

“I’ve told him how important I think all this is,” Kasich cut off a reporter in mid-question when asked at a National Press Club event Tuesday about his discussions with Portman on the bill. “I don’t cast his vote. … We’ll see what happens when the card goes in the box — or however they vote in the Senate.”

GOP Super PAC Plans to Go All In on Pelosi Attacks
Congressional Leadership Fund polling shows minority leader underwater

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will continue to be targeted by outside groups to attack Democrats in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On the heels of a Republican victory in Georgia’s 6th District last week, the major GOP super PAC that played in that race is making known its plans to spend millions tying Democratic House candidates to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in 2018.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC backed by House GOP leadership, spent $7 million in the Georgia special election — much of it on attacks that tried to tie Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff to Pelosi. It launched similar attacks against the Democrat in the special election for Montana’s at-large district, which Republicans also won.  

Paul Ryan Defends CBO Role as Referee
Speaker makes comments one day after White House swipe

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is defending CBO Director Keith Hall and his office amid White House criticism of the nonpartisan agency. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One day after the White House criticized the Congressional Budget Office as an inaccurate arbiter, amid a heated debate over the effects of the Republicans’ plans to change the health insurance system, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is defending the nonpartisan office. 

“Yeah, he’s actually a Republican appointee. If I’m not mistaken, Tom Price appointed him,” Ryan said Tuesday morning when asked whether he had full confidence in CBO Director Keith Hall. Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services and a key advocate of GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, was previously the House Budget Committee chairman. 

Next Supreme Court Term Stacked With Major Cases
Immigration, religion, redistricting on high court’s agenda

Members of the U.S. Supreme Court photographed earlier this month. (Rex Features via AP Images)

The Supreme Court ended its current term this week without deciding the kinds of blockbuster issues that usually draw demonstrators to its plaza at the end of June, but the justices have seeded their next term with high-profile cases.

The addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch in April brought the court back to full strength for the first time in more than a year, and the justices are poised to jump into more contentious and headline-grabbing cases starting in October.