Politics

Ryan Agrees to Health Care Conference With Big Caveat
Speaker says Senate will have to act on conference report first to show it can pass it

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., has committed to going to conference on a health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday ceded to GOP senators’ demands that the House commit to going to conference on a health care bill, but added a caveat that will provide his members cover from having to take another difficult vote. 

“We expect the Senate to act first on whatever the conference committee produces,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a statement Thursday. 

Senate Overwhelmingly Sends Russia Sanctions Bill to Trump’s Desk
The White House has sent mixed signals over whether Trump will sign it

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said President Donald Trump’s refusal to recognize Russian interference in the 2016 election affected the sanctions bill. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Thursday passed 98-2 a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. 

The White House, which has been plagued for months over a federal investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government, has sent mixed signals over whether Trump would sign the legislation. 

Scaramucci Predicts Priebus Ouster in Vulgar Call to Reporter
‘I sometimes use colorful language’

Incoming White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci verbally attacked Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in a conversation with a New Yorker reporter — or as Scaramucci put it used colorful language. (Wikimedia Commons)

Incoming White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci told a New Yorker reporter Reince Priebus is a “paranoid schizophrenic” and said Donald Trump’s chief of staff would be asked to step down “very shortly.”

Scaramucci also blasted former Breitbart executive and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon to New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza, accusing him of trying to build his personal brand “off the f------ strength of the president.” The former Wall Street financier also threatened to completely clean out the White House communications shop over leaks to the press.

Ethics Committee Announces Probe of Guam Delegate
Inquiry of Madeleine Bordallo involves island nation living situation

The House Ethics Committee announced it was probing Del. Madeleine Bordallo of Guam, which her staff said involved a lodging issue.  (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday it was taking up a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics on a matter involving Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo.

Bordallo’s spokesman, Adam P. Carbullido, said the matter relates to an inquiry regarding her living arrangement on the island.

The Latest From the Senate Vote-a-Rama
The Senate will consider a series of amendments to its health care overhaul efforts

8:41 p.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,speaks to health care protesters outside of the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is expected to be in session through the night and possibly into the morning hours of Friday to consider amendments to the bill Republicans want to use to repeal parts of the 2010 health care law.

The health care effort is attached to a budget process known as reconciliation, which traditionally comes to a conclusion with an all-night vote-a-rama session on the Senate floor where members consider dozens upon dozens of amendments.

Americans Dubious of GOP Health Care Reform, Poll Finds
GOP operatives say party leaders must press on

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, are trying to push a health care overhaul forward. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A new poll found a third of Americans think a GOP health care policy would marginally affect their health care. Just 15 percent think their coverage would improve. So why are Republicans hellbent on dismantling the 2010 health care law before the August recess?

Nine out of every 10 respondents to a new Economist/YouGov poll agreed health care is an issue that is at least “somewhat important,” with seven out of 10 saying health care was “very important.”

John Delaney Won’t Run for Re-election in 2018
Three-term congressman reportedly eyeing presidential bid in 2020

Maryland Rep. John Delaney may be looking to run for president in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Maryland Democratic Rep. John Delaney is expected to soon announce that he won’t run for re-election or governor in 2018. 

Bethesda Magazine reported Thursday that the three-term congressman is expected to detail his plans — which may include a 2020 presidential bid — in a Washington Post op-ed Friday. Delaney had been considered a potential challenger to Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, but sources told Politico Delaney won’t seek that office and will instead take a look at seeking much higher office in three years.  

Some Red State Democrats Reject Single-Payer Amendment
Most Democrats voted “present” to protest the GOP strategy

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., voted against a GOP single-payer amendment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats largely protested a GOP effort to put senators on the record on a plan providing universal health care, but a handful running for re-election in Republican-leaning states decided to reject the single-payer system.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont, introduced an amendment Wednesday night to amend the House-passed health care legislation currently on the floor and replace it with a Democratic bill giving every American health care through Medicare. Daines does not support the Medicare-for-All bill, but he argued that the American people should know Democrats’ position on the issue. Democrats cried foul, saying that Republicans were playing politics.

Chaos Consumes Future of Obamacare Repeal Effort
Senate Republicans have “assurances” the House would go to conference with the chamber

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said Thursday he would support a slimmed-down bill to repeal the 2010 health care law in order to get to a conference with the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By JOE WILLIAMS, REMA RAHMAN and LINDSEY McPHERSON

Senate Republicans are hinging their support on a “skinny” bill to repeal the 2010 health care law on assurances that the chamber would go to conference with the House on a broader bill with replacement measures.

Trump Spokeswoman Won’t Declare President’s Confidence in Priebus
President wants ‘healthy competition’ between sudden West Wing rivals

The White House press secretary on Thursday would not confirm if the president still had confidence in Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House’s top spokeswoman would not say Thursday whether President Donald Trump still has confidence in White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who has seemingly also come under criticism from an incoming senior aide.

What’s more, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Trump welcomes a “healthy competition” between Priebus and incoming communications director Anthony Scaramucci, as well as other aides. She did not, however, define what that means.

Tax Overhaul Moves Forward Without Border Adjustment Plan
Questions still remain on how to rewrite the tax code

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said negotiators from Congress and the Trump administration dropped the border adjustment tax proposal “in order for us to unify.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By LINDSEY MCPHERSON and JOHN T. BENNETTUpdated 5:39 p.m. | The decision by the White House and Republican leaders to drop a controversial border adjustment tax proposal as they proceed with negotiations on how to rewrite the tax code provides more questions than answers about where their effort is headed.

The border adjustment tax, known as the BAT, would have reversed the current way the United States taxes goods crossing its borders by taxing imports but exempting exports.

Democrats Plan to Push ‘Better Deal’ Over August Recess
Party seeks feedback from voters about its economic plan

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, center, joined top Democrats at a rally in Berryville, Va., on Monday to unveil their party’s “Better Deal” economic agenda. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats are confident they will be able to hammer home their newly unveiled economic agenda, even as health care and Washington drama dominate the news. And they’re planning to use the upcoming August recess to do just that.

“I’m branding our entire August district work period as ‘A better deal for the heartland,’” Rep. Cheri Bustos said. 

Beds Are Ready for Senate’s Long Night on Health Care
Votes are expected to go into the early hours of Friday

A Capitol employee pushes a bed past the Senate chamber toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s suite of offices in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The cots are out in the Capitol.

Ahead of the Senate’s expected vote-a-rama on health care legislation late into the night, a Capitol employee was seen Thursday wheeling a bed toward the majority leader’s offices.

How Climate Change Impacts Congressional Districts Over Next 80 Years
A Roll Call analysis also reveals how concerned people are, by district

(Photo courtesy iStock)

Two recent studies explored the climate debate at the local level. The authors of a report by Climate Impact Lab, published in Science magazine, ran 29,000 simulations to project the economic damage that could result from climate change between 2080 and 2099 in the U.S.

Researchers at Yale and George Mason universities created a model that estimates opinions on climate change in specific communities. Roll Call combined the two in this analysis, by congressional district.

Graham: ‘Holy Hell to Pay’ if Trump Fires Sessions
And going after Mueller could be ‘beginning of the end of the Trump presidency’

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham reiterated his support for Attorney General Jeff Sessions in light of President Donald Trump’s attacks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsay Graham said he is “100 percent behind” embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and said there would be “holy hell to pay” if President Donald Trump fires him.

In an interview with CNN, the South Carolina Republican also said that if the president went after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who’s directing the investigation into possible contacts between Trump’s circle and Russia, that could be the “beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong.”