PowerPost Senators unveil two proposals to protect Mueller’s Russia probe

The following article by Karoun Demirjian was posted on the Washington Post website August 3, 2017:

Two bipartisan pairs of senators unveiled legislation Thursday to prevent President Trump from firing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III without cause — or at least a reason good enough to convince a panel of federal judges.

Senators have raised concerns that the president might try to rearrange his administration to get rid of Mueller, who is spearheading a probe of Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and any possible collusion between the Kremlin and members of the Trump campaign and transition teams. Read More

Senate Republicans have tolerated Trump’s controversies. His treatment of Sessions is different.

The following article by Paul Kane was posted on the Washington Post website July 26, 2017:

President Trump said he would have “picked someone else” had he known that Attorney General Jeff Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia probe. (The Washington Post)

Sen. John Cornyn counts Attorney General Jeff Sessions as one of his best friends in Washington, and their wives are even closer, making the couples regular double-date partners.

“We occasionally get together to break bread,” the Senate majority whip said Wednesday. One of those double dates came recently enough that Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Sessions could not avoid the elephant in the room: President Trump’s public taunting of his attorney general, in a manner that suggests he wants Sessions to resign. Read More

ALEC’s Scary Plan For Electing Your Senators

The following article by David Daley was posted on the AlterNet website July 22, 2017:

The New York Times and Washington Post reported that President Trump has had conversations with top officials about whether he could pardon himself and his family, and also suggested that the White House could be mounting an attack on the credibility of Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor leading the investigation into Russian influence on the 2016 campaign.

Trump’s “election integrity” commission convened for the first time on Wednesday and he wasted no time assailing state election officials who have refused the panel’s unprecedented request for detailed voter data. The president alleged, darkly, that uncooperative states might have something to hide. “One had to wonder what they’re worried about,” Trump said. “There’s something. There always is.” Read More

Congress breaks impasse on bill to slap sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea

The following article by Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian was posted on the Washington Post website July 22, 2017:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) left, speaks with reporters during the Speaker’s weekly news conference on June 8 on Capitol Hill. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) is to the right. (Cliff Owen/AP)

A weeks-long impasse over imposing new financial sanctions on Iran and Russia broke late Friday, with the House preparing to vote next week on a measure that would prevent President Trump from lifting measures against Moscow.

House leaders agreed to vote on an expanded version of the bill after incorporating sanctions aimed at freezing North Korea’s nuclear program and draining the government of revenue it uses to fund it. The measures against Pyongyang, which passed the House 419 to 1 as a stand-alone bill earlier this year, were inserted at the request of House Republican leaders.

While some details have yet to be finalized, congressional aides said, the bill is set for a vote Tuesday, according to a schedule circulated Saturday by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). It will proceed under special expedited procedures for noncontroversial bills expected to pass with a two-thirds majority.

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Parts of Senate GOP Health Care Bill Break Rules, Parliamentarian Says

The following article by Mary Ellen McIntyre was posted on the Roll Call website July 21, 2017:

Abortion, insurance regulations, cost-sharing subsidies would require 60 votes

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., along with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks to reporters about the path forward for health care legislation in the Ohio Clock Corridor after the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Several parts of the Senate health care bill would violate the chamber’s budget reconciliation rules, the Senate parliamentarian said in a guidance late Friday.

Provisions related to abortion, certain insurance regulations and funding the law’s cost-sharing subsidies could be struck under the so-called Byrd rule and would require 60 votes to survive.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said the Senate will take a procedural vote to proceed to debate on the health care measure early next week. It’s unclear whether enough Republican senators will vote to start debate or which version of the bill the Senate would consider. The parliamentarian’s ruling is on an early version released last month.

Additionally, a provision that aims to incentivize individuals to purchase coverage and replace the health care law’s individual mandate was ruled out of order with the Byrd rule. Read More

Senate Leaders Press for Health Care Vote, but on Which Bill?

The following article by Thomas Kaplan and Robert Pear was posted on the New York Times website July 20, 2017:

From left, Senators Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn and John Thune leaving the White House on Wednesday after a meeting between President Trump and Republican senators on health care. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans ended a demoralizing week on Thursday with their leaders determined to press ahead with a vote to begin debating health care next week, but with little progress on securing the votes and no agreement even on which bill to take up.

With President Trump urging them to move forward on their seven-year quest to erase the Affordable Care Act, Republican senators on Thursday still had not decided whether to revive a proposal to replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law with one of their own, or to simply repeal it and work on a replacement later.

The choice is unpalatable: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday that the latest version of the bill to repeal and replace the health law would increase the number of people without health insurance by 15 million next year and by 22 million in 2026. Those figures are the same as the estimates in the budget office’s previous analysis, despite numerous changes to the bill intended to win votes. Read More

CBO: GOP Plan Would Spike Premiums, Cut 32M From Insurance Rolls

The following article by the Roll Call staff was posted on RollCall.com July 19, 2017:

Credit: Oscar Gronner

A new Senate GOP health care plan would result in 32 million more people without health insurance, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released Wednesday. The measure, similar to a 2015 bill passed by the Senate, would save $473 billion over a decade.

According to the analysis from Congress’ nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, average premiums in the individual marketplace would increased by about 25 percent next year, increasing to 5o percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2026.

“Under this legislation, about half of the nation’s population would live in areas having no insurer participating in the nongroup market in 2020 because of downward pressure on enrollment and upward pressure on premiums. That share would continue to increase, extending to about three-quarters of the population by 2026,” CBO wrote on its website.  Read More

Why is Mitch McConnell still calling for a health-care vote?

The following article by Sean Sullivan was posted on the Washington Post website July 18, 2017:

Monday night brought one of the most embarrassing blows Mitch McConnell has endured in his 2½ years as Senate majority leader.

Two more Republican senators came out against McConnell’s bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, effectively dooming the latest version. That forced the Kentucky Republican to confront a difficult question with no good answers: What now? Read More

If — if — the Senate passes a health bill, get ready for lightning round in the House

The following article by Paul Kane was posted on the Washington Post website July 15, 2017:

By most measures, Republicans face a nearly impossible task of finding enough votes to pass their long-promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act through a Senate that seems irreconcilably divided.

A core group of moderates and mainstream conservatives remains resistant to the Republican proposal that slashes Medicaid funding, while a small but critical bloc of conservatives keeps pushing to move the bill further in their direction.

Yet by one measure, Republicans have never been closer to repealing large chunks of what they dismiss as “Obamacare.” Within two short weeks, the GOP will probably either be reveling in its unexpected victory or mired in deep infighting over the party’s failure to live up to a pledge it has made over the past seven years. Read More