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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cabinet and Executive Nomination News

The Senate’s Role in Confirming Trump’s Cabinet, Explained

Trump’s Cabinet picks undergo grueling prep for hearings

Senate readies for blizzard of confirmation battles

GOP slows Trump Cabinet confirmation pace

Sen. Jeff Sessions — Attorney General (Google News)

Judiciary Committee page for U.S. Attorney General Nomination
Hearing held Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Hearing held Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sessions Is a Highly Qualified Pick for Attorney General
As a four-term member of the Senate, Sessions has a distinguished record on the Judiciary Committee and has extensive experience within the federal judiciary as assistant U.S. attorney and U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. He also has experience at the state level as former attorney general of Alabama. As a prosecutor and Alabama attorney general, he aggressively pursued and obtained criminal convictions for violent felonies and drug crimes, effectively pursued criminal charges against members of the Ku Klux Klan, and worked to desegregate Alabama schools.

Sessions Promises To ‘Root Out’ And Prosecute Waste, Fraud
Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama pledged Tuesday to prioritize rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government if the Senate confirms him as the next attorney general. Sessions used his opening statement of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to emphasize that he believes the federal government must accelerate efforts “to protect the United States Treasury from waste, fraud and abuse.” “We cannot afford to lose a single dollar to corruption and you can be sure that if I am confirmed, I will make it a high priority of the (Department of Justice) to root out and prosecute fraud in federal programs and to recover any monies lost due to fraud or false claims,” Sessions said in his prepared remarks.

8 Takeaways From the First Day of Jeff Sessions’ Confirmation Hearings

Four key takeaways from Day Two of the Sessions confirmation hearings

Jeff Sessions should have been a tough sell in the Senate, but he’s too nice
He is one of the more well-liked members of the Senate, a place that still retains elements of one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. He is genial, respectful and patient toward colleagues and staff. And that has given fellow Republicans and even some Democrats reason not to scrutinize the more unsavory allegations of his political history.

How a Jeff Sessions Justice Department Can Change Course on Crime

Affordable Care Act Repeal Update

Trump calls for immediate Obamacare repeal, quick replacement: NYT
He said he wanted a repeal vote next week and said he would not accept a delay of more than a few weeks for a replacement.

Senate to replace Obamacare ‘very rapidly’ after repeal
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday wouldn’t commit to a firm timetable for replacing Obamacare, saying it would occur “rapidly” or “very quickly” after the law’s repeal this year. The Kentucky Republican also wouldn’t say whether everyone covered by the Affordable Care Act would still have health insurance under a GOP plan, pivoting to the fact that 25 million Americans still lack insurance under President Obama’s reforms.

Senate rejects Paul's balanced budget
The Senate rejected an alternative budget proposal from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Monday. Senators voted 14-83 against Paul's balanced budget measure aimed at overhauling legislation that is being used to pave the way to repeal ObamaCare. GOP Sens. Mike Crapo, Ted Cruz, Steve Daines, Jeff Flake, John Kennedy, James Lankford, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, James Risch, Marco Rubio, Ben Sasse, Tim Scott, Pat Toomey and Paul supported the proposal. The measure would have balanced the budget over roughly five years but retain the guidelines for nixing the Affordable Care Act.

Obama Health Secretary’s Speech Ignores the Consequences of Obamacare
On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell gave a speech in support of Obamacare proclaiming the benefits of Obamacare and cautioning against repealing and replacing the law, as Congress has promised to do. Unsurprisingly, she left out some critical details from her list of Obamacare “benefits.”

GOP leaders push back at critics of ObamaCare plan
Senate Republican leaders are pushing back against the idea proposed by some in their caucus of passing an ObamaCare replacement at the same time that they repeal the law. Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, indicated to reporters Monday that simultaneous repeal and replacement is not practical. “I think we would all like that to be the case but, like I said, it's more aspirational,” Cornyn said of doing a replacement at the same time as repeal. “I think the practical challenges are many and so we're doing the best we can given the hand we've been dealt.” He noted that fast-track reconciliation rules would not allow a full replacement to be included. “I think we're better off doing it correctly and carefully rather than just quickly for quickly's sake,” Cornyn added of a replacement, saying he wants replacement to be a step-by-step, bipartisan process.

GOP senators drop push to delay ObamaCare repeal
A group of Senate Republicans announced Wednesday night that it is dropping its formal push to delay the deadline for ObamaCare repeal legislation.

Obamacare Repeal Moves Forward as Centrist GOP Senators Abandon Plan to Delay It
Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana introduced an amendment to the budget resolution Monday pushing back the deadline for House and Senate committees to craft the reconciliation bill repealing Obamacare to March 3. The original target date for the committees was Jan. 27. But during a marathon voting session—called “vote-a-rama”—that began Wednesday evening and extended into early Thursday morning, Portman and Corker withdrew the amendment.

Senate passes budget with ObamaCare repeal rules
Full updates from the late-night vote-a-rama.

Senate takes first step toward repealing ObamaCare
The Senate took a first step toward repealing ObamaCare and fulfilling a long-time campaign pledge in the early morning hours Thursday. Senators voted 51-48 to pass a budget resolution that is being used as a vehicle for rolling back the Affordable Care Act, with the House expected to vote on Friday. Republicans needed a simple majority of votes to clear the repeal rules, instructing committees to begin drafting repeal legislation, through the upper chamber, with the vote falling largely along party lines.

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