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Congressional Climate August 10th, 2017

Video of the Day
What to Watch for During Congress August Recess

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Today’s Hill Action
Senate Floor Schedule
The Senate is not in session.
Committee Hearings
None.
House Floor Schedule
The House is not in session.
Committee Hearings
None.
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Obamacare’s marketplaces aren’t collapsing — but they’re not thriving either
Typically by August, the state of the upcoming Obamacare enrollment season is pretty evident – that is, what health insurance rates will look like and how many insurers will participate in the marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. But not this year. A picture of the 2018 marketplaces is slowly emerging — but everything is volatile under Republican rule.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released the clearest look yet at how the ACA’s state-based marketplaces – which recently escaped an attempted revamp by congressional Republicans – are faring. While they’re not in meltdown mode, as President Trump has been gleefully predicting, neither do they look too pretty for some of the 10 million or so Americans likely to seek coverage there starting Nov. 1.

Out of 20 states (including the District of Columbia) that have released enough information to analyze, insurers in 15 of them have proposed rate hikes in the double digits. In Albuquerque, N.M., for example, average monthly premiums will increase 34 percent to $346 for a mid-range “silver plan.” Average proposed hikes for the same type of plan are 29 percent in Seattle, 25 percent in Baltimore, 23 percent in Philadelphia and a whopping 49 percent in Wilmington, Del.
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White House pitches deal for wall money — and no shutdown.
The White House is pushing a deal on Capitol Hill to head off a government shutdown that would lift strict spending caps long opposed by Democrats in exchange for money for President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico, multiple sources said.

Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs, met with top staffers from both parties on the Senate Appropriations Committee last week to make a hard sell for the proposal, the sources said.

Short – who said the border funding would be used for a “double fence” – stressed that the White House is insisting on a down payment for construction this fall. Short also lobbied for a big budget increase for the Pentagon, another priority for Trump.
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Here’s Democrats’ plan for tax reform this fall
(CNN) Over the recess, Democrats are gearing up for another partisan battle in Congress. This time it’s on tax reform.

After crashing and burning on healthcare last month, Senate Republicans and the White House are desperate for a legislative victory and Democrats are feeling emboldened that they may have more leverage in the upcoming fight. This month, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is continuing conversations with his members on how they will message tax reform, but the key takeaway for now is that Democrats won’t flatly agree to go along with a Republican bill that benefits the top 1% of earners.

“Donald Trump campaigned as a populist, for God’s sake. It’s a different world than it was 10 or 15 years ago. The idea that people will support huge tax cuts for the rich when they’re given a crumb won’t work anymore,” Schumer told CNN.
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Until tomorrow,
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