Congressional Climate July 31st, 2017

Video of the Day
7/28/17: Weekly Address

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Today’s Hill Action
Senate Floor Schedule
The Senate reconvenes at 4 p.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of Kevin Christopher Newsom to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eleventh Circuit. The Senate will take a cloture vote on the nomination at 5:30 p.m.
Committee Hearings
None.
House Floor Schedule
The House is not in session.
Committee Hearings
None.
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Susan Collins: ‘Go back to committee’ on health care
Sen. Susan Collins, one of three Republican senators who sunk the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare on Friday, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that it was time to build a series of health care bills through the committee process.

“The ball is really in our court right now,” Collins said. “Our job is not done.”

The Maine Republican called for a return to the normal legislative process by addressing problems and crafting bills on the committee level before bringing them to a vote before the full chamber.

“We need to go back to committee,” she said.

Collins also emphasized her opposition to more comprehensive legislation and instead advocated the Senate “produce a series of bills” aimed at addressing pressing issues in health care. She said the first issue the Senate should focus on would be to stabilize the insurance markets.
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Pence Pledges U.S. Backing of Baltic Nations Against Russia
Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. stands with the Baltic nations against any threats from Russia as tensions continue to flare between the former Cold War foes.

Pence made Estonia his first stop on a visit to eastern Europe that will also take in Georgia and Montenegro, where he’ll meet Balkan NATO members and aspirants. His trip follows last week’s Russian-Chinese naval exercises in the Baltic Sea and comes before planned Russian military drills in September that have in the past simulated an attack on the region.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine spooked the Baltics and triggered a rethink of NATO’s role in ex-communist Europe. Western troops were added in response in nations such as Estonia and Latvia, unwilling former Soviet republics with large Russian-speaking minorities. While recently backing NATO’s collective-security pledge, President Donald Trump has courted Russian President Vladimir Putin and raised doubts about the U.S.’s commitment to far-away allies.
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New order at WH front and center as Kelly takes helm
Incoming White House chief of staff John Kelly’s ability to instill order was on the minds of those inside and outside the Trump administration Sunday, but it remained unclear to them whether he will be able to get his underlings to snap to.

President Donald Trump on Friday swapped in the homeland security secretary and retired Marine Corps general to be his chief of staff following Reince Preibus’ resignation from the job last week.

But when asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” if all staff members would answer to Kelly, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney simply responded, “I don’t know,” adding that he would report to Kelly just as he had Priebus.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also got a chain-of-command question on “Fox News Sunday,” and said that she would talk to Kelly about that at her first formal meeting with him on Monday.
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