Possible shutdown, health care quagmire awaiting Congress

Caroline Beck
April 25, 2017

The White House is anxious to pass legislation quickly, partly because Trump will likely hit his 100th day in office without having signed a major piece of legislation.

The Republican plan, as written last month, would end the Medicaid expansion, let states impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients, rescind a range of Obamacare taxes, get rid of a penalty on people who refuse to obtain insurance, and ditch Obamacare's income-based subsidies to help people buy insurance while creating less-generous age-based tax credits.

While bipartisan negotiations continue on Capitol Hill, Trump is driving a hard bargain, insisting on money to begin construction on a border wall and boost defense spending.

Democratic support will be needed to pass the spending measure, as Republicans fear taking the blame again if the government shuts down on their watch.

Beyond keeping the government's lights on, Republicans, encouraged by the White House, are still hoping to revive the GOP health care bill that was pulled from the House floor roughly a month ago. Democrats are also pressing for money for overseas starvation relief, treatment for opioid abuse, and the extension of health benefits for 22,000 retired Appalachian coal miners and their families.

"I don't think anyone thinks a shutdown is desirable", Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told "Fox News Sunday". "We don't like those very much, but we have offered to open the discussions to give the Democrats something they want in order to get something we want".

Talk of forcing Mexico to pay for it has largely been abandoned.

Healthcare legislation did not appear on the schedule released on Friday by House Republican leaders of bills to be considered next week.

Kevin Chappell finally wins on PGA Tour with victory at Texas Open
Among those who finished at 14 under were first-round leaders Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk, the winners of the tournament in 2014. Austrian Bernd Wiesberger beat England's Tommy Fleetwood in a playoff on Sunday to win the Shenzhen International in China.

Health care is on a separate track and facing trouble, too. But let's say you did get it through the House, you need Democratic votes to pass the spending.

GOP leaders have shown no desire to revisit ObamaCare until they're assured they have enough votes to succeed, a point Ryan reiterated to lawmakers Saturday, according to participants in the call.

As part of the White House drive to resuscitate the bill, members of Trump's team including Vice President Mike Pence and chief of staff Reince Priebus have made multiple calls to Republicans.

But House GOP leaders face the same problem that's plagued them for seven years of trying to concoct a plan for repealing Obama's 2010 law: The party's conservatives and moderates are at odds over how to do it.

But there are widespread doubts that the new attempt has achieved the support it needs. The moderate said his objections included changes to Obama's law that would still leave people with excessive out-of-pocket costs.

Moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, has floated a proposed amendment that would give states the ability to request to opt out of certain Obamacare regulations while making essential health benefits -- the requirement that all plans cover things like prescription drugs and mental health services -- the federal standard.

Yet Republican lawmakers and aides to party leaders, conservatives and moderates alike were skeptical the House would vote this week on the health legislation. Democrats were uniformly against the legislation.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

Discuss This Article