Politics

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
CLF releases polling showing Minority Leader underwater

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has will continue to be a source of outside groups’ attacks on Democrats in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On the heels of a Republican victory in Georgia’s 6th District, 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.

Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC backed by House GOP leadership, spent $7 million in the special election to fill the Georgia seat— much of it on attacks that tried to tie Democrat 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

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, and amid a heated debate over the effects of Republicans’ plans to change the health insurance system, 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 amid. 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

Members of the US Supreme Court are photographed on Thursday. (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.

Napolitano to Miss Votes as Her Husband Undergoes Chemotherapy
Congresswoman to miss votes.

Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., will miss votes to be with her husband during chemotherapy (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Jeff Flake's Father Dies
Senator calls him "My hero, my idol, my father"

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., posted a photo in memorial of his late father Dean Flake. (Sen. Jeff Flake via Facebook)

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake announced that his father Dean Flake died on Monday night at the age of 85.

After growing up on their father’s F Bar Ranch, Dean Flake, who had been a teacher, and three brothers bought out their father and ran the ranch as a partnership.

DCCC Names Cheri Bustos Chairwoman of Heartland Engagement
Illinois Democrat will mentor candidates, deliver economic message in rural districts

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos has been named chairwoman of Heartland Engagement for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for 2018. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, already active in candidate recruitment and policy messaging, has a new role helping her party try to win the House majority in 2018.

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, appointed Bustos chairwoman of heartland engagement for the Democrats’ campaign arm on Tuesday. In that role, the third-term congresswoman will be mentoring Democratic candidates and helping shape an economic message in rural areas — both of which she’s already been doing.

Return of the Inauguration Crowd Size Matter
Unnamed complainant alleges Park Service mishandled photos

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer makes a statement to members of the media at a White House briefing on Jan. 21. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

A new Interior Department inspector general report is further muddying the already murky situation surrounding White House claims that the crowd at President Donald Trump’s inauguration was the largest in American history.

The report found “no evidence to substantiate” complaints that National Park Service employees altered records related to crowd-size estimates for Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The IG also investigated and found no evidence to support the unnamed complainant’s allegation that a Park Service employee mishandled photos of the event and posted political comments on Facebook.

CBO Score Makes GOP Health Care Slog Harder
Growing number of senators oppose bringing current bill to floor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to vote on a health care measure by the end of the week has been complicated by a Congressional Budget Office score that estimated millions would lose their health insurance under the measure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to pass a massive overhaul of the U.S. health insurance system that has virtually no support outside of Congress and the White House became even more difficult after the release of a damaging analysis of the legislation from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

And now, with several Republican members voicing opposition to the current proposal, even a vote on a procedural motion to start consideration of the legislation appears destined to fail.

Ethics Committee Investigating Luján, Conyers and House Staffer
House panel reveals it took up matter from OCE in May

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee along with Ben Ray Luján and a House staffer. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Ethics Committee acknowledged Monday it is investigating Reps. Ben Ray Luján, John Conyers and House staffer Michael Collins.

The panel did not disclose details of its inquiry. Since the probe was referred to the House committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics, details of the OCE’s reports are expected to be made public August 9.

22 Million More Uninsured Under Senate Health Care Bill, CBO Says
$321 billion would be saved over 10 years

The draft health care bill written by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, would result in 22 million more Americans without health insurance by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Republican health care bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million over a decade to 49 million, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday. This estimate likely will increase the challenges for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky in trying to pass the bill before the July Fourth recess.

In comparison, the version the House passed May 4 would increase the uninsured population by 23 million over a decade, the CBO said last month. The Senate bill would save $321 billion over a decade, more than the House bill’s $119 billion reported by the CBO last month.