South Dakota

Survey Shows Support for Some Kind of Health Care Overhaul
Economist/YouGov survey finds Americans want changes to the system

Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed legislation to created a single-payer health insurance system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As the Senate intends next week to consider yet another iteration of a bill to replace the 2010 health care law, the latest Economist/YouGov poll shows about one-third of those surveyed believe legislation should expand and fundamentally change the law.

Forty percent of respondents said they would support a single-payer system in which insurance comes from one government source financed by taxes, while 29 percent were opposed to that idea.

Thune, Peters Divide Over Big Trucks in Driverless Vehicle Bill
“Highly-automated trucks are not ripe for inclusion”

Trucks of Otto, an autonomous trucking company acquired by Uber. (Courtesy Dllu/Wikimedia Commons - CC BY-SA 4.0)

Members of a key Senate committee are divided over whether to include large trucks in legislation that would guide driverless-vehicle regulation in a disagreement that pits safety against jobs in the trucking industry.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said at a hearing Wednesday that autonomous vehicles will improve safety and lower emissions. He said trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds should be included in the legislation. 

Frustrated by Congress’ Plodding Pace, Trump Urges Speed on Tax Bill
President feels let down by GOP leaders who promised health overhaul by April break

President Donald Trump, surrounded by aides, gets a briefing on counterterrorism operations and Hurricane Irma response on Monday in the Oval Office. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

Updated at 8:40 a.m. | Donald Trump on Wednesday implored lawmakers to quickly send him a tax overhaul package a day after his top liaison to Congress said the president is frustrated by the often-plodding pace on Capitol Hill.

Trump and his top aides are busily discussing the contents of a bill that would slash individual and corporate tax rates, while also simplifying the federal tax code, with congressional Republicans and Democrats. Trump wants to sign a bill into law this calendar year.

Senators Could Lose ‘Blue Slip’ Input on Circuit Judges
President would have less reason to consult with lawmakers

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley has signaled he might end a tradition that gives senators a de facto veto power over nominees to federal appeals courts. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A looming showdown over a Senate tradition could strip senators of a de facto veto power over nominees to federal appeals courts — and give President Donald Trump less reason to consult with senators about which judges should be appointed.

The Judiciary Committee’s “blue slip” process has required senators to return a blue slip of paper before the committee schedules hearings and markups of nominees for federal judgeships from their home states. No slip, no hearing. That has made it essential for the White House to get a senator’s buy-in on a nomination.

Photos of the Week: DACA Protests, Harvey Relief and Leadership Smiles and Frowns
The week of Sept. 5 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal returns to a meeting with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, and the Senate Judiciary staff on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress returned from its August recess to a short but dramatic week. President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced his decision to end a program that shielded from deportation undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children. Protests erupted around the nation, including in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Also this week, Congress considered a Hurricane Harvey relief package, which made headlines Wednesday afternoon after Trump struck a deal with Democratic leaders to attach certain provisions to that measure.

Word on the Hill: Highest Congressional Honor for Dole
Historical society lectures, cancer advocates, and former member updates

Legislation to give former Sen. Bob Dole the Congressional Gold Medal is headed for the president’s desk. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid all the action in Congress this week, you might have missed a vote honoring former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan.

The House approved on Tuesday a bill, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., to present Dole with the Congressional Gold Medal. It had already passed in the Senate, where it was introduced by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. The measure now moves to President Donald Trump’s desk.

Senate Pins Health Care Hopes On Bipartisan Bill
Repeal efforts on 2010 law ebb as other measures pop up

Senate HELP Chairman Lamar Alexanderwants to move quickly on legislation to stabilize the health insurance markets, but other attempts to address health care might get in the way. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A last-ditch attempt by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law appears unlikely to get off the ground, as lawmakers from both parties pin all their hopes for a health care fix on a long-shot bipartisan bill to stabilize the insurance markets.

While there’s an effort underway within the GOP conference to try to hold another vote on a bill to overhaul former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, optimism is low among several Republican lawmakers and aides that it will be successful.

A Tale of Two Photos: Post-White House Meeting Edition
Smiles and frowns from Senate leaders after huddling with Trump

Smiles from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as they arrive for a news conference after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol on September 6, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met the press Wednesday after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump, they presented different game faces, as you can see from the above photos.

Senate congressional leadership held their traditional post-policy lunch press conferences, which came shortly after the top leaders met with Trump. 

Republicans to Weigh Surplus of Tax Policy Options
Standalone bills provide a glimpse into senators’ priorities

South Dakota Sen. John Thune has introduced several standalone bills that could be wrapped into a broader overhaul of the U.S. tax code. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Legislation introduced by Republican senators over the past several months could help guide the upcoming debate on an overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

While the effort is still in the adolescent stage, the bills provide an early look into the priorities members will push for during the forthcoming tax negotiations.

Opinion: GOP Tax Dilemma — Somebody’s Got to Pay More
There’s a reason tax reform doesn’t happen often

South Dakota Sen. John Thune believes that traditional budget scorekeeping underestimates the dynamic effects of tax cuts on the economy, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Any deduction you look at in the tax code has a constituency behind it,” John Thune said last week as we chatted about taxes in his Senate office. “If you are going to do tax reform that is revenue-neutral … that means that you have to kill some deductions or scale them back.”

Too often Republican oratory depicts tax reform as across-the-board rate reductions where everyone wins and nobody loses. It is like Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon — “where all the children are above average” — but a lot richer.