Saturday, January 28, 2017

2017 Outlook

Ryan maps out GOP timeline for ObamaCare, tax reform
PHILADELPHIA — Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday mapped out the GOP’s 200-day legislative strategy, saying Republicans will repeal and replace portions of ObamaCare by spring and tackle tax reform before the August recess.

Ryan: GOP will replace Obamacare, cut taxes and fund wall by August
PHILADELPHIA — House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday outlined a packed legislative agenda for this year in which Republicans would repeal and replace Obamacare by April, fund Donald Trump’s border wall shortly after that and approve a sweeping tax reform package by August.

Republicans set aggressive agenda on health care, regulations and tax reform
PHILADELPHIA — Republican leaders laid out an aggressive legislative agenda Wednesday that would have Congress repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act, pass replacement measures and embark on a major tax code overhaul, all within the first 200 days of blanket GOP control in Washington.

Trump takes control of GOP agenda
President Donald Trump told House Speaker Paul Ryan he "liked" the Republicans' 200 day agenda that includes repealing and replacing Obamacare and overhauling the tax code. But he told Ryan something was missing. Trump asked lawmakers to include the massive infrastructure spending project that he promised voters during the campaign. Now it's been added to the GOP's already packed to-do list, outlined at the Republican retreat at a hotel in downtown Philadelphia. It's not clear whether it will match Trump's $1 trillion proposal for repairing the nation's crumbling roads and bridges, but infrastructure is now "front and center," according to those who heard details of the GOP plan.

Supreme Court

Trump huddles with Senate leaders ahead of Supreme Court battle
President Trump met with Senate leaders on Tuesday afternoon as he gears up to announce his Supreme Court nominee next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — the top two members on the Judiciary Committee — sat down with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy.

Senate GOP: We'll fill Supreme Court seat with or without Democrats
PHILADELPHIA — The Senate's No. 3 Republican told reporters at a GOP retreat Wednesday the Senate will fill the Supreme Court vacancy even if Democrats threaten to mount a filibuster, and suggested the GOP may be ready to invoke another "nuclear option" if needed.

Trump would favor Senate rule change if Supreme Court choice blocked
On Tuesday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he told Trump that Democrats would fight any nominee they consider to be outside the mainstream. Assuming all 52 Senate Republicans back Trump's nominee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would either need to lure eight Democrats to his side or change the rules and ban the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.

Trump backs curbing filibuster if Dems block Supreme Court pick
Trump told Fox News that he would back getting rid of the 60-vote threshold for high court nominees if he can't win over the support of at least eight Democrats for his nominee, who is expected to be announced next week.

Affordable Care Act Repeal

Walden: Other Bills May Carry Health Care Replacement
The House Energy and Commerce Committee could look to attach legislation intended to overhaul the 2010 health care law onto several other bills expected to advance this year, panel chairman Greg Walden said Tuesday.

Conservatives, GOP Committee Chairs Back Away From Bill Allowing States That Like Obamacare to Keep Obamacare
According to a senior Republican aide, GOP committee chairmen, as well as conservative lawmakers, are moving against the bill introduced earlier this week by Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine.

McConnell wants to finish work on ObamaCare quickly
“I don’t think we have the luxury of this dragging out for a lengthy period of time. There is a reason to wrap it up. This is a very intense effort of consultation with all three branches about how to do this in the relatively near future,” McConnell said. He said doesn’t want wrangling over ObamaCare to trample on time he has set aside for tax reform later this year. “We want to complete this exercise before we get to the second budget reconciliation for tax reform,” he said.

Spending

Trump, GOP set to battle on spending cuts
Many of the proposals that the officials are reviewing would gain support from a majority of conservative House Republicans, who have sought to cut the federal deficit by scrapping government programs they view as unnecessary. But some of Trump’s targets have fans in the GOP-controlled Congress, particularly in the Senate.

Ryan says U.S. House will put up funds to build Mexico border wall: MSNBC interview

GOP eyes special spending bill to pay for border wall
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told colleagues Wednesday that he will likely move a supplemental spending bill this year to pay for President Trump’s massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

GOP leaders won't say how border wall will be paid for
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said Thursday that Congress will pass a supplemental bill before Sept. 30 that would fund a wall building project, which will cost about $12 billion to $15 billion, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. But Ryan dodged a question about whether Congress would raise taxes or cut spending to pay for such an endeavor.

Search for Billions to Pay for Border Wall Confronts Congress
Spicer told reporters Trump would seek to impose a 20 percent border tax on imports from Mexico. Republican leaders said Thursday they plan to pony up $12 billion to $15 billion in the coming months to begin construction of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, but that large sum of money may be just the first installment to fund a project that could cost taxpayers as much as $40 billion, according to some independent estimates.

Ryan: GOP planning 'expansive' infrastructure budget
President Trump has called for $1 trillion infrastructure investment, but GOP leaders aren't yet committing to a spending level. Ryan said the size of the House GOP plan "is going to be determined by the fiscal space we create" in the budget. Ryan added that infrastructure spending would not be limited to roads and bridges, but will also include pipelines, Federal Aviation Administration spending and "so many other things."

Ryan tiptoes around deficit concerns for 2017 legislation
The issue may come to a head in the next few months when lawmakers will be asked to raise the federal debt ceiling.

Inside the GOP debate over strengthening defense spending, despite the cost
On Friday, President Trump announced his plans to lavish spending on the nation’s military in remarks at the Pentagon near Washington. But just one day beforehand, congressional Republicans debated the costs of such a buildup and how to pay for it at their annual policy retreat in Philadelphia.

Senate Operations

McConnell plans longer hours, more Friday sessions
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to work longer hours, more Fridays and potentially keep the Senate in 24/7 at times to complete confirming President Donald Trump's Cabinet and begin pushing his legislative agenda, according to senators and aides briefed on the plan. The move could help head off potential complaints from Trump and House Republicans that the chamber's glacial pace is hurting the party.

Frustrated Republicans press McConnell to kill the filibuster
PHILADELPHIA — Rep. Trent Franks had a simple question for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a private GOP meeting here Wednesday: Would he take up anti-abortion legislation the House passed? McConnell shot back that it would never get through the Senate because Democrats aren’t “pro-life” and have the votes to stop it. So why don’t you just change the rules? Rep. Bruce Poliquin demanded moments later. McConnell dodged, suggesting it's not going to happen.

McConnell all but rules out filibuster change
McConnell has argued throughout his Senate career that the chamber’s rules can only be modified with a two-thirds vote, a striking contrast from his predecessor, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who triggered the nuclear-option in 2013 to shield executive branch and most judicial nominees from filibusters.

McConnell warns Trump to back off on killing filibuster
McConnell had this to say to the new president: That's not your call. “That’s not a presidential decision. That’s a Senate decision,” McConnell told POLITICO in an interview Friday that focused mostly on the Supreme Court. “What I’ve said to him, and I’ve stated publicly and I’ll say today: We’re going to get this nominee confirmed.”

Presidential Address to Congress

Ryan invites Trump to address Congress on February 28
Trump's remarks will technically not be a State of the Union address. It is traditional, however, for incoming presidents to speak before Congress in their first months in office.

Ryan says Trump to address joint session of Congress Feb. 28
"This will be an opportunity for the people and their representatives to hear directly from our new president about his vision in our shared agenda," Ryan, leader of the Republican-controlled House, said at a news conference.

Congressional Productivity

Trump: This Congress may be the busiest Congress ever
The major policy legislation Republicans hope to get across the finish line by summer are in addition to traditionally difficult votes to raise the nation's borrowing limit and pass federal spending bills. The government is operating for the most part off a temporary spending bill that expires in March. Republicans must also pass fiscal year 2018 spending measures in order to provide federal funding beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.

Trump promises 'busiest Congress' in decades
"We're here now because tens of millions of Americans have placed their hopes in us, to transfer power from Washington, D.C. and give it back to the people." Trump thanked House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and told them the White House would no longer be a legislative graveyard. "We're actually going to sign the stuff that you're writing, you're not wasting your time," he said.

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