Congressional Climate May 2nd, 2017
Video of the Day
President Trump Signs an Executive Order on Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy
Today’s Hill Action
Senate Floor Schedule
The Senate reconvenes at 10 a.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of Jay Clayton to be a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, post-cloture. The Senate will recess from 12:30-2:15 p.m. for weekly caucus lunches.
House Floor Schedule
The House reconvenes at noon for legislative business and is expected to consider measures under suspension of the rules.
Trump Wants Health-Care Bill to Protect Pre-Existing Conditions
“I want it to be good for sick people. It’s not in its final form right now,” he said during an Oval Office interview Monday with Bloomberg News. “It will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.”
The latest version of the House GOP bill, which Republican leaders are trying to figure out whether they have the votes to pass this week, wouldn’t live up to that promise and would weaken those protections.
A new amendment aimed at winning over conservative holdouts would allow states to apply for waivers from Obamacare’s requirements to provide certain essential health benefits if they are able to show that the modifications would cut prices. It also would allow states to sidestep the requirement that all consumers in a certain area must be charged the same rate for insurance, which would make plans significantly more expensive for those with pre-existing conditions.
House Republicans Continue Health-Care Push, May Leave Changes to Senate
In the messy effort to rally their often unruly party around a measure to replace big parts of President Barack Obama’s health-care law, House leaders have been forced to leave other objectives by the wayside and focus on one simple, political goal: pass a bill they can say repeals Obamacare – even if it has no hope of survival in the Senate – to shield their members in next year’s elections.
“I would hope it gets changed over there,” Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) told Bloomberg News, echoing other center-right members who explicitly said they were willing to pass the new revision in hopes that the Senate would strip out the harsher provisions.
Congress Strikes Budget Deal that Shortchanges Trump
The bipartisan deal struck Sunday night would increase defense spending and provide $1.5 billion in new border security spending aimed at repairing existing infrastructure and increasing technology, though it would not allocate any new funding for a border wall with Mexico despite the president’s insistence. Under the plan, Congress would provide $15 billion in supplemental funding requested by Trump to fight terrorism, with $2.5 billion of that contingent on the White House presenting Congress with a plan to fight the Islamic State.
The bill clocks in at more than 1,600 pages, and Congress must pass it before Friday evening to avert a shutdown. It is likely to pass easily because it contains key boosts to defense and domestic programs viewed by leaders in both parties as vastly preferable to another stopgap measure. House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said it is “the result of over a year’s worth of careful and dedicated efforts to closely examine federal programs to make the best possible use of every tax dollar.”
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