Politics

Healthcare.gov Could Be Crippled Under Latest GOP Obamacare Repeal Proposal
The federal exchange marketplace would remain under the proposal, but largely in name only

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is part of a group sponsoring legislation that would dismantle current health care law, including a key mechanism for determining people's eligibility for subsidies. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A federal health exchange the government spent over $1 billion to create would likely be made obsolete by the recent GOP proposal to gut the 2010 health law.

Policy experts say the Department of Health and Human Services would still be required to maintain healthcare.gov under the proposal from Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada. 

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: 

Trump Not Present, Still Center Stage at Alabama Senate Race
Strange and Moore showcase their closing arguments to voters

Judge Roy Moore has been leading in public polling. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The two GOP candidates in the Alabama Senate race came to face-to-face Thursday night in an unusual debate, but President Donald Trump and his agenda took center stage.

The debate highlighted a central struggle in the race between Sen. Luther Strange, the candidate Trump has endorsed, and Judge Roy Moore, who has the backing of some of Trump’s allies and supporters who decry the D.C. establishment.

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.

Blue Dog PAC Endorses Eight Democrats for 2018
Blue Dogs’ numbers ticked up in 2016

The Blue Dog PAC endorsed former Rep. Brad Ashford on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Blue Dog Coalition’s PAC backed eight Democratic House challengers Thursday in its first round of endorsements of the 2018 cycle. 

Endorsements come with a $5,000 check — the maximum a PAC is allowed to contribute to a federal candidate per election. The PAC can cut each candidate another $5,000 check if they clear the primary and run in the general election.

Trump, Afghan President Contradict One Another on Situation There
U.S. president sees 'hornets' nest,' but Ghani says 'victory is within our sights'

U.S. Army soldiers walk as a NATO helicopter flies overhead at Forward Operating Base Connelly in the Khogyani District in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan. President Donald Trump and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani see the situation there differently, according to comments Thursday. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani delivered contradictory assessments Thursday of the situation on the ground as the U.S. military operation there enters its 16th year.

Addressing reporters together on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly session, the leaders offered their conflicting assessments a month after Trump altered America’s strategy and deployed more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to help indigenous forces and target extremist groups.

Van Hollen Confident Dems Will Invest in Alabama Special Election
'We have a terrific candidate' in Doug Jones, Maryland senator says

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the DSCC, said he thinks Doug Jones will energize voters to turn out, but “I’m not sure, after a bitter Republican primary, that’s going to be the case on the Republican side.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Chris Van Hollen believes Democrats will invest in their candidate in the Alabama special election to fill the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump’s attorney general.

And as the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which will fight to retain current and capture new Senate seats in 2018, Van Hollen’s word carries considerable weight.

Civil Rights, Racial Disputes Fuel Divide Over Judicial Nominee
North Carolina senators defend Thomas Farr

Sens. Richard M. Burr, right, and Thom Tillis prepare for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Sept. 20. The two support North Carolinian Thomas Farr for a federal judgeship, a nomination that has raised the ire of civil rights groups and African Americans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s pick for a federal judgeship in North Carolina has drawn the opposition of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights groups in part because of past work defending the state’s congressional redistricting plans and voter ID law, which courts have struck down as unfair to minorities.

The vacancy in the Eastern District of North Carolina has fallen victim to the Tar Heel State’s contentious politics and the Senate’s confirmation process — making it now the oldest judicial vacancy in the country at 11 years and 9 months.

Strange Still Dogged By Corruption Accusations Five Days Before Runoff
Two Alabama state reps are accusing the senator of a coverup

Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., faces former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Republican runoff for the Alabama Senate seat formerly held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Five days before his showdown with Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Republican primary runoff for the Alabama Senate special election, Sen. Luther Strange still finds himself batting away corruption accusations from state legislators in Montgomery.

State Reps. Ed Henry and Mike Ball, both Republicans, voiced concern at a joint news conference Wednesday regarding Strange’s role in an investigation that saw the conviction of former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard on 11 corruption charges.

Kid Rock Trailing Stabenow by 18 Points in New Poll
Earlier polls had shown the rock-rapper closer to incumbent Michigan Democratic senator

Kid Rock, center, poses with Jon Pardi, left, and Tyler Hubbard at the CMT Music awards in Nashville in June. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMT file photo)

As he continues to consider a Senate run, Kid Rock got some bad news that a new poll shows him trailing Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow significantly in a potential race in Michigan.

The poll, conducted by Marketing Resource Group, shows Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, trailing Stabenow by 18 points. That is a sizable difference from other polls, such as one from August that showed Ritchie with an 8-point deficit

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.

Republicans Head Into Alabama Senate Race Homestretch
Campaigns zero in on turning out supporters

Alabama Sen. Luther Strange is counting on visits by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to carry him to victory on Sept. 26. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The biggest names in the Republican Party — from President Donald Trump to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin —  will be heading south as the GOP primary runoff in the Alabama Senate race enters the homestretch. 

Sen. Luther Strange and former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore have been fighting for the GOP nod to fill the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general. As the top two contenders in the August primary, they advanced to the runoff, which in some ways has turned into a proxy battle within the Republican Party.

Analysis: Why Ryan Has Stepped Into the Senate Health Care Debate
Speaker has typically steered clear of offering advice or taking on other chamber

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has signaled the Graham-Cassidy health care measure in the Senate will get a House floor vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan doesn’t like to meddle in Senate affairs — except when he does.

Throughout July when the Senate was working through various proposals to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, Ryan frequently declined to comment on what the other chamber was considering.

Eisenhower Memorial Clears Key Construction Hurdle
Commissioners hope to break ground in October

A monument to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 17 years in the making, is finally moving ahead. (Courtesy The Eisenhower Memorial Commission, 2017. Memorial Design by Gehry Partners, LLP; Tapestry by Tomas Osinski; Sculpture by Sergey Eylanbekov)

Seventeen years, eight Congresses and three presidents after Bill Clinton commissioned planning for a massive memorial honoring President Dwight D. Eisenhower, planners finally expect to break ground by the end of fall.

The Eisenhower family is on board. Republicans and Democrats on the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee are on board.

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.