Medicaid

Budget Debate, Grievances Get Airing in Both Chambers

From left, Rep. Richard Neal, Sen. Ron Wyden, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer,  Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Barbara Lee, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Bernie Sanders conduct a news conference in the Capitol Wednesday to speak out against Republicans’ tax and budget plan that they say will benefit the wealthy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Floor action on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution — made possible by assuaging conservatives’ concerns over the emerging tax overhaul blueprint last week — officially got under way on Wednesday.

The House voted 232-188 to approve parameters for debate and moved on to formally debating the resolution. Once the House and Senate formally adopt a joint budget resolution, if they can get that far, the tax-writing committees will be able to produce filibuster-proof tax legislation through the fast-track reconciliation process.

Republicans Face Messaging Battle on Tax Overhaul
Health care defeat spurs heightened awareness of the upcoming messaging battle on taxes

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have unveiled a framework for their tax measure and already face a messaging battle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The messaging battle over a pending overhaul of the U.S. tax code has begun. And while Republicans say they feel confident they will overcome the opposition this time around, a lingering defeat on health care continues to concern proponents.

The administration and congressional GOP leaders last week unveiled a framework for the still unreleased tax legislation. It immediately set off a cascade of reaction — positive and negative — as Republicans labeled it a middle-class tax break and Democrats called it a giveaway for the rich.

Cassidy Eyes Changes to Health Care Bill While Trying to Win Support
Senate GOP opted not to take a vote on measure last week

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy has not given up on his health care overhaul plans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said there will be changes to a proposal he wrote to overhaul the 2010 health law as he and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina try to win more support for the measure while other lawmakers focus on tax legislation.

“There are some things that inevitably have to change, but we do think that the format of what we’re doing and the principles of what we’re doing are good and that the American people will like it because it’s ultimately about fairness,” Cassidy said Monday on the Big Story Podcast with CQ Roll Call.

Next Health Secretary Could Set Course for Insurance System
Price’s successor will put own stamp on Obamacare

President Donald Trump will nominate a new HHS Secretary now that Tom Price is out of the job. The new secretary could have a big effect on the fate of the health insurance system. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the health care debate sidelined on Capitol Hill, the next Health and Human Services secretary will have the ability to determine the Trump administration’s approach on the current health care law.

Despite seven years of promises, Republicans have been unable to roll back the 2010 health care law as they’d planned before the end of September. The vacancy left by former Secretary Tom Price, who resigned last week amid scrutiny of his private jet use, added another challenge to a politically divisive battle.

RSC Budget Allows Conservatives to Lay Down Austere Marker
Alternative will likely not pass, but gives conservatives an outlet

The Republican Study Committee, chaired by North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker, will get a House floor vote Thursday for its more austere budget. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans will get the chance Thursday to vote for an alternative budget blueprint that offers up more than $10 trillion in spending cuts over a decade. The plan would double the number proposed in the House Budget Committee-approved fiscal 2018 resolution, while balancing the budget in half the time.

The conservative Republican Study Committee has been given assurances its alternative will be ruled in order for a vote when GOP leaders bring the fiscal 2018 budget resolution to the floor, according to an RSC aide.

CBO Still Expected To Analyze Graham-Cassidy Health Care Measure
Sponsors of the bill plan to continue work on the proposal to repeal the 2010 health law

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., says the Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of his health proposal with three other GOP senators. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of a proposal from four Republican senators that would overhaul the health care system, according to one of the bill’s main sponsors.

During an interview for Tuesday’s CQ Roll Call Big Story Podcast, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said a full score from the nonpartisan budget office is still expected. He believes that report could help dispel some of the opposition to the legislation.

Frustrated Democratic Staffer Leaves Capitol Hill to Run for Office
Former aide to Sen. Bob Casey is running for Maryland House of Delegates

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, right, consults with then-staffer Jared Solomon, left, at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in 2016. (Courtesy Jared Solomon)

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, like most high-profile Democrats lately, has been encouraging young people to get more involved in public service. One of his staffers decided to take his advice.

Three weeks ago, Jared Solomon, 32, left his role as Casey’s legislative assistant and policy adviser to run for the Maryland House of Delegates as a Democrat.

Pence Didn't Push on Health Care Vote
Veep did not seek to force Senate hand on latest bill

Vice President Mike Pence joined Senate Republicans at their weekly lunch, but did not opt to force the issue of taking a vote on the health care bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence opted not to make a last-ditch pitch to Republican senators Tuesday to vote for the GOP’s latest health care bill.

Instead, Republican senators leaving their weekly lunch at the Capitol said Pence focused on how Congress could provide disaster aid to U.S. territories devastated by a string of recent hurricanes, pivoting from one of the president’s central campaign promises. Shortly after the lunch, GOP leaders said they were shelving a vote.

Collins Opposition to Graham-Cassidy Likely Dooms Obamacare Repeal
Third GOP senator announced against it

Maine Sen. Susan Collins announced her opposition to the Graham-Cassidy health care repeal proposal Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Susan Collins delivered the likely final blow to the Senate Republicans’ latest effort to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law.

“Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target. Today, we find out that there is now a fourth version of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is as deeply flawed as the previous iterations,” the Maine Republican said in a statement of the effort spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

Amid Health Care Chaos, Graham and Cassidy Still Lacking Votes
Finance hearing rocked by protests, S&P prediction dire

A protester is taken out of a Senate Finance Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on the proposal by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy to change the U.S. health insurance system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate on Monday was consumed by a now-familiar sense of chaos as Republicans continued their quest to pass in an accelerated fashion a major overhaul of the U.S. health care system, even as protests erupted in the hallways of the Capitol and independent forecasters predicted dire consequences in the form of lost jobs and diminished economic activity. 

Sponsors of the bill, which would essentially turn all federal funding included in the 2010 health law into massive block grants to states, tried mightily to gather support, but the effort continued to hit fierce head winds.