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Those That Shall Not Be Named: Cost Sharing Reductions
Once a nonstarter, health insurance subsidies part of year-end calculus

Speaker Paul D. Ryan once panned a measure that would restore cost-sharing reduction subsidies for health insurance companies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In Congress, where most lawmakers are hesitant to spill secrets about ongoing negotiations, answers are often found in what lawmakers are not saying. And House Republican leaders are not saying much about subsidies for health care insurers lately.

GOP leaders’ continued refusal in recent weeks to rule out funding the cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or CSRs, which President Donald Trump’s administration has stopped paying, is not a guarantee that Congress will do so. But it’s certainly a green light for negotiations to continue.

Democrats Push GOP to Delay Tax Talks After Alabama
But Republican tax conference committee is full speed ahead

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones's victory in the Senate race to replace Jeff Sessions could scramble the legislative calculus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats were quick to call on Republicans to delay their efforts to rewrite the tax code, saying Doug Jones' victory in Tuesday’s special Senate election in Alabama is a sign from voters that needs to be heeded.

“The vote on the tax bill should be postponed. The voice of Alabamians should be heard on this and Doug Jones should have a chance to weigh in,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told reporters Wednesday.

Picture This: A ‘Perfecto’ Final Tax Bill
As House, Senate negotiate, president raises expectations

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks with reporters about the GOP tax bill between votes in the Capitol on Nov. 30. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House and Senate are not even in formal conference negotiations on a tax overhaul measure yet, but the expectation from the White House is clear: It’s got to be “perfecto.”

On a day of increasing uncertainty over how to fund the government past Dec. 8, President Donald Trump hosted a small group of Senate Republicans at the White House and placed his marker. 

In Utah Trip, Trump Looks to Boost Hatch
President pushing senior-most GOP senator to seek re-election

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch  at the Utah State Capitol on Monday. Trump signed executive orders shrinking the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. (George Frey/Getty Images)

After President Donald Trump signed proclamations Monday drastically diminishing the scale of national monuments in Utah, he handed off the pen to a senator who still seems a most unlikely ally.

“I’ve served under many presidents — seven to be exact — but none is like the man we have in the White House today. When you talk, this president listens,” Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch said Monday in introducing Trump at Utah’s state Capitol in Salt Lake City.

John Anderson, Republican Who Ran for President as Independent, Dead at 95
Longtime House member made 1980 a three-way race

Rep. John B. Anderson, center right, looks on as President Gerald R. Ford shakes hands with Rep. Ray John Madden. (Mickey Senkol/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. John B. Anderson, a Republican from Illinois who shook up the 1980 presidential race by running as an independent, died Sunday in Washington, D.C. He was 95.

From Rockford, Illinois, he was first elected in 1960 to the 87th Congress. He served 10 terms overall, and was a one-time chairman of the Republican Conference.

GOP Still Seeking Tax Overhaul Magic Numbers
Final bill may feature more ‘stimulus’ in the early years

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker appears to be among the keys to a tax overhaul deal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After sending senators home earlier than expected Thursday, Republican negotiators were going to work through the night trying to thread the needle to get 50 or more votes for their tax code rewrite.

Senate Finance ranking member Ron Wyden was giving a lengthy speech criticizing the Republican tax plan after Thurday night’s final Senate vote, but the Oregon Democrat was really serving as the soundtrack over an animated gathering of Republican senators and senior aides.

Opinion: Ethics Committee Investigation for Harassment Is Not ‘Zero Tolerance’
Referring sexual misconduct allegations to panel is as good as doing nothing

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s touting of the Ethics Committee was more disturbing than her defense of Rep. John Conyers Jr. on “Meet the Press,” Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi had a profoundly terrible appearance Sunday on “Meet the Press,” when, among other things, she defended Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving Democrat in the House, in the face of multiple sexual harassment allegations against him from former female staffers.

First, Pelosi made a call for due process, which is always important, of course. But then she got into the weeds. “Just because someone is accused — and was it one accusation? Is it two?” she said to NBC’s Chuck Todd. “I think there has to be — John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women.”

Lawmakers Push Alcohol Tax Cut Despite Rising Drinking Rates
The tax break would save alcohol producers $4.2 billion

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio leaves the Republican Senate policy lunch in the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

States Face Children’s Health Coverage Uncertainty
Federal funding could soon run out

Oregon governor Kate Brown recently wrote to her state’s two Democratic senators warning that federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program will  run out in December. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

About two months after federal funding lapsed for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, state officials still don’t know exactly when they’ll run out of money or when Congress will renew funding — leaving families that depend on the program increasingly anxious about their benefits.

At least a few states say that they could exhaust funds as soon as next month. States are growing more concerned about the program with just a few days left on the congressional calendar until December and no signs that lawmakers plan in the immediate future to renew funding. 

Podcast: Trip Wires Await the GOP Tax Proposals
The Week Ahead, Episode 79

From left, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, participate in the Senate Finance Committee markup of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call reporters Lindsey McPherson and Niels Lesniewski, who cover the House and Senate, walk us through the hurdles that Republicans have to overcome to pass the legislation.

Show Notes: