Arizona

Podcast: Latest Obamacare Repeal Bill Unravels
The Week Ahead, Episode 71

Arizona Sen. John McCain with reporters in the basement of the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John McCain’s opposition to the latest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare may well kill it, says Roll Call Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski. CQ health reporter Mary Ellen McIntire explains what’s in the bill.

Show Notes:

McCain a ‘No’ on Latest Senate Health Care Bill
Arizona Republican says there is not enough time for debate

Arizona Sen. John McCain talks with reporters in the basement of the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Arizona Sen. John McCain said Friday that given the truncated timeline, he cannot vote for the health care repeal proposal floated by fellow Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana next week.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it,” McCain said. “Without a full [Congressional Budget Office] score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.”

Photos of the Week: Health Care Dominates Senate While House Is Out
The week of Sept. 18 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Sen. Bernie Sanders raises his fist as rally attendees chant "Bernie" following his speech on the Capitol grounds Tuesday. Senate Democrats held the rally to oppose the Graham-Cassidy health care proposal, which is expected to reach the Senate floor next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate was in town for just a few days this week, while the House was recessed for a district work week and in observance of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah on Thursday and Friday.

Here's the short week in photos: 

House Democratic Candidates Capitalize on Graham-Cassidy
House hopefuls appealing to Republican senators to vote against repealing 2010 health care law

Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona tweeted a photo of herself calling her state's Republican senators. (Ann Kirkpatrick via Twitter)

Democratic House candidates are trying to appeal to Republican senators in their states as the GOP prepares for another vote to repeal the 2010 health care law.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it is his intention to vote next week on the health care legislation spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

GOP Primaries Could Hamper Plans on Taxes
Vulnerable Republican incumbents pose a challenge for McConnell

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange faces former Judge Roy Moore in a crucial Senate primary runoff next week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican hopes for moving an ambitious tax package in a closely divided Senate may hinge on a number of incumbents on the ballot, including Luther Strange of Alabama, who faces a tough primary runoff on Sept. 26.

The vulnerability of Republican incumbents like Strange underscores the challenges facing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he tries to hold together at least 50 votes in his 52-member conference to pass a partisan tax plan under a filibuster-proof reconciliation bill.

Beyer on the Words That Made His Spelling Bee Career
Virginia Democrat tries to win back his National Press Club Spelling Bee title

Members of the politicians’ team after the National Press Club Spelling Bee in 2015. From left, Rep. Brad Ashford of Nebraska, Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey, the winner Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. of Virginia, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota. (Courtesy Noel St. John/National Press Club)

In one of Washington’s most beloved nerdfests, members of Congress will take on members of the D.C. media in the National Press Club Spelling Bee on Tuesday.

Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., who won for the politicians’ team in 2015, has redemption on his mind.

McConnell Opens Door to Health Care Vote Next Week

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is pushing hard on his legislation to rework the U.S. health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders are preparing to hold a vote on an alternative to the 2010 health care law next week, although 50 Republicans have not confirmed they would vote for the proposal.

“It is the Leader’s intention to consider Graham-Cassidy on the floor next week,” Don Stewart, a spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said Wednesday in an email.

Republican Senators Mostly Silent After Trump’s North Korea Threat
President would hit regime, military targets - not civilians, White House says

Republican Sens. Bob Corker (center), Marco Rubio (seated right) and Jim Risch (standing right) all declined to comment on GOP President Donald Trump's threat to "totally destroy" North Korea if it attacks the United States. Also pictured are GOP Sens. Cory Gardner (standing left) and Ron Johnson (seated left). (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker hurried into an elevator. Sen. Marco Rubio quickly ducked into the Capitol Visitor Center television studio. And Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain shut down reporters’ repetitive questions.

No Republican senator could be found Tuesday who was willing to question President Donald Trump’s threat before the United Nations General Assembly to “totally destroy” North Korea unless it gives up its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs, which he views as a direct threat to the sovereignty and security of the United States and its allies.

Opinion: The Fatal Flaw for Republicans in Graham-Cassidy
Bill’s passage would make health care dominant issue in 2018 midterms

The Republicans’ latest attempt to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law is reminiscent of “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Shapiro writes. (Painting by Richard Caton Woodville/Wikimedia Commons)

The Republicans’ latest drive to repeal Obamacare is reminiscent of a poetry fragment from Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade”: “Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why.”

Whatever happens with the bill likely slated to reach the Senate floor next week, it is hard to escape the feeling that this wild charge will end badly for the Republicans.

An Immigrant’s Path to Congress: Ruben Kihuen’s First Year in Photos
Roll Call looks at the Nevada Democrat’s journey from the campaign trail to D.C.

OCT. 19, 2016: Ruben Kihuen, then a Democratic candidate for Nevada’s 4th District, shakes hands with demonstrators in front of the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas during the Culinary Union’s Wall of Taco Trucks protest — the day of the final presidential debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Every two years, a new crop of freshmen descends on Washington and every two years, Roll Call follows one such member through their first year. 

For the 2016 election, Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen was one of only several Democrats to unseat a House Republican. His story is similar to those of millions of Americans — his family came to the U.S. seeking a better life — but on Nov. 8, 2016, he became the first formerly undocumented person to be elected to Congress (along with New York Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who was elected the same day). Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Kihuen’s dreams of playing professional soccer were dashed by an untimely injury. It was then that he turned his attention to politics.