Politics

Meadows: Freedom Caucus Open to Changes
White House negotiating with Republicans opposing health bill

Rep. Mark Meadows said his conservative caucus was open to negotiating with the White House on changes to a health care bill opposed by enough Republican members to sink the measure. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By Rema Rahman, Lindsey McPherson and Joe Williams/CQ Roll Call

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said Wednesday he and members of the conservative group are open to negotiating changes to a health care bill that is struggling to gain enough votes by Republicans to pass the House.

White House to Skeptical GOP Members on Health Bill: This Is It
President meets with various members, Republican and Democrat, over course of day

President Donald Trump still doesn't have the House votes to pass the GOP health plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House intensified its game of chicken with Republican lawmakers over the party’s health care overhaul plan, saying there is no Plan B.

Even as one GOP lawmaker told Roll Call there likely are around 30 “no” votes among the Republican conference — more than enough to sink the legislation — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer warned members of his party “this is it.”

Trump Claims Vindication on Surveillance News
But information was collected legally, according to top Republican

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, makes his way from the committee’s offices to the microphones to hold a news conference in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump expressed a sense of vindication Wednesday after House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said that Trump campaign associates may have been caught up in a surveillance net.

“I somewhat do. I must tell you I somewhat do. I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found, I somewhat do,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Chris Collins Advocates Retribution for Recalcitrant Republicans
Trump ally says those voting against health plan should lose plum assignments, cash

Rep. Chris Collins has revenge on his mind if the House Freedom Caucus sinks the GOP health plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If House Freedom Caucus members sink the GOP leadership’s health care bill Thursday, they should be stripped of plum committee assignments and denied access to campaign committee resources, Rep. Chris Collins told reporters Wednesday.

“If this goes down, they’re not on our team,” the New York Republican said.

Conservatives Ask to Start Over on GOP Health Plan
Leadership-crafted legislation remains short of majority

From left, Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., looks on as Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, speaks with staff during the House Rules Committee meeting to formulate a rule on the American Health Care Act of 2017 on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By Rema Rahman and Lindsey McPherson, CQ Roll Call

Conservatives are flexing their muscles in Congress as they get closer to securing the “no” votes that would sink the GOP leadership-crafted bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

John Dingell Tweets a First-Person History of Health Care Reform
Disagrees with Trump’s ‘nobody knew health care reform was so complicated’ line

Former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., was one of the leading voices on health care reform. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dingell started his tweetstorm by paraphrasing Trump, who was derided when he told a gathering of governors earlier this month that “nobody knew health care could be so complicated” before telling the story of how his father, former Rep. John Dingell Sr., proposed the first attempt to increase health care coverage for Americans in the 1940s.

Joe Biden Returns to Defend His BFD
Former vice president rallies with fellow Democrats at Capitol to preserve 2010 health law

Biden rallied with fellow Democrats at the Capitol to oppose GOP leaders’ health care plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. returned to the Capitol Wednesday to save what once he famously described as a “big f***ing deal.”

Appearing with fellow Democrats and supporters of the 2010 health care law on the Capitol steps, the man from Delaware who spent virtually his entire adult life in the Senate or White House said “I ain’t going anywhere. This is not going to pass,” Biden said of the House Republican legislation to gut his former boss Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

Cuomo: Health Care Amendment ‘Declared War on New York’
Collins-Faso amendment would prevent counties from shouldering Medicaid costs

A new amendment by Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said the amendment that he and Rep. John Faso offered is meant to take the burden off property tax payers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An amendment by New York Reps. Chris Collins and John Faso to the health care bill the House is to vote on Thursday is a declaration of war against the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

The proposal by upstate Republicans Collins and Faso would prevent New York counties from shouldering the cost of Medicaid, leaving the responsibility to the state alone, New York media outlets reported.

Congressional Black Caucus To Confront Trump on Budget
Chairman Richmond says he’ll ‘call him out’ on education funding and policing

Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., center, said he had received calls to cancel the caucus' meeting with President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are set to meet with President Donald Trump and plan to “call him out” on parts of his agenda.

The caucus wants to push the president on the changing priorities of the U.S. Justice Department and cuts in education funding for college students, The Associated Press reported.

Trump Boasts of Forcing Canadian Firm to Drop Keystone Lawsuit
Claims he threatened to take back his approval of TransCanada’s project

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participate in a joint news conference at the White House in February. On Tuesday, Trump said he threatened to nix a Canadian company's Keystone Pipeline project unless it dropped a lawsuit against the U.S. government. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Updated at 11:25 a.m. | President Donald Trump is asserting he got the Canadian company behind the Keystone XL pipeline project to drop a lawsuit seeking more than $10 billion from the U.S. government after he threatened to take back his approval of the project.

In late January, Trump signed an executive order green-lighting TransCanada’s application to build the Keystone XL after the Obama administration blocked it for years. He did so, however, with a major caveat, saying the pipeline deal was “subject to terms and conditions that will be negotiated by us.”

Battle of Wills Over Health Care Bill
Absent a deal, Trump and GOP leaders or Freedom Caucus will lose face in Thursday’s vote

President Donald Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price met with the House Republican Conference on Tuesday in the Capitol, where Trump called on Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and his group to get on board with the GOP health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The GOP health care debate has quickly become a battle of wills between the House Freedom Caucus and Republican leadership in the House and White House. And if the vote proceeds as planned on Thursday without changes to the bill, it will be a battle over reputations.

Absent a compromise between the conservative caucus and House leadership and/or the President Donald Trump and his administration, one of the two sides will emerge from Thursday’s vote significantly scathed.

House Health Care Bill Teetering on the Brink of Failing
Nearly enough firm Republican ‘no’ votes to sink it

Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said he opposes the GOP-backed health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photos)

By LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN/CQ ROLL CALL

The GOP health care bill appears poised for failure with at least 19 Republicans committed to voting “no,” absent additional substantial changes, and several more likely to join them in opposition. 

White House Health Care Full-Court Press Changes Few Minds
Trump, Ryan lack needed 216 votes in House, says Freedom Caucus chairman

President Donald Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price arrive in the Capitol to meet with the House Republican Conference about the party’s health overhaul bill on Tuesday morning. Despite Trump’s full-court press, there was little evidence he changed many minds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A White House in full-court press mode deployed President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to call out and fire up Republican members about the party’s health care overhaul bill, but there was scant evidence it worked.

Trump made a rare morning trek to the Capitol’s basement in his quest for the 216 Republican votes, where he addressed the GOP House caucus with his signature brashness: Members present said he called out reluctant members, including Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, by name. A few hours later, Pence tried to keep skeptical GOP senators in the loop about what kind of bill they might soon receive.

Vulnerable Senate Democrats Stand Firm in Opposing GOP Health Care Plan
Senators in tight races are making a moral argument against the bill

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III talks with constituents during a town hall meeting in Martinsburg, W.Va., last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Senate Democrats up for re-election in Republican-leaning states are united in opposition to the GOP health care plan.

For them, overhauling the health care system is not just about policy. It’s a matter of right and wrong.

Appreciation | Jimmy Breslin and the Art of Describing Washington
Book by New York newspaperman is an invaluable portrayal of Capitol Hill

Jimmy Breslin found his muse in the late Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, above, whom he portrayed in his book “How the Good Guys Finally Won” as a consummate professional. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jimmy Breslin will always be remembered as a New York newspaperman. But he also made an indelible contribution to documenting the Watergate scandal and in doing so, breathed life into some of Capitol Hill’s most influential characters. 

The hard-boiled columnist, who died March 19 at the age of 88, brought the full force of his observational skills to his 1975 book “How the Good Guys Finally Won.” Breslin made a career out of focusing on big stories through the perspective of working stiffs, so it’s no surprise he latched on to two methodical House Democrats who took on President Richard Nixon, fresh off a landslide 1972 re-election victory and whose team seemed to be brushing off the Watergate break-in.