KHN Morning Briefing

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The Republican Agenda: It’s A New Congress And The GOP Lays Claim To A Mandate

With Republicans controlling both houses of Congress and the presidency, the policies advanced by the Obama administration will be on the chopping block. Chief among them will be President Barack Obama's signature health law as well as possible changes to other federal health programs.

The New York Times: With New Congress Poised To Convene, Obama’s Policies Are In Peril
The most powerful and ambitious Republican-led Congress in 20 years will convene Tuesday, with plans to leave its mark on virtually every facet of American life — refashioning the country’s social safety net, wiping out scores of labor and environmental regulations and unraveling some of the most significant policy prescriptions put forward by the Obama administration. (Steinhauer, 1/1)

Los Angeles Times: Congress Opens With An Ambitious Republican Agenda For The Trump Era
Republicans remain at odds on some high-profile issues — such as how aggressively to investigate Russian hacking in the 2016 election — and how to fulfill other big-ticket promises, such as replacing Obamacare. Despite firm Republican control of both the White House and Congress, the internal disputes have left them without a clear plan yet for Trump’s first 100 days, or an endgame for the two years of the 115th Congress. (Mascaro, 1/2)

The Washington Post: Claiming Mandate, GOP Congress Lays Plans To Propel Sweeping Conservative Agenda
Few presidential candidates have dominated the coverage of an election like Trump did in 2016. In the campaign’s final stretch, Republican candidates often got less attention for their records in Congress than for their positions on Trump’s controversial statements. The irony, as Democrats realized after the election, was that congressional Republicans were poised to have more influence over the national agenda in 2017 than congressional Democrats did after the 2008 election that put Obama in the White House with his party in control on Capitol Hill. (Weigel, 1/2)

The Associated Press: GOP Congress Feels It Has Mandate To Undo Obama's Agenda
Republicans' grip on all levers of power stands as a mandate to the GOP-led Congress, which will move swiftly to try to undo eight years of outgoing President Barack Obama's agenda. With Republican President-elect Donald Trump just weeks away from assuming office, GOP lawmakers plan to open the 115th Congress on Tuesday and immediately take steps to repeal Obama's health care law. ... House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Democrats "stand ready to fight vigorously" to protect health care and other priorities. (Jalonick, 1/2)

Even as Republicans plan their strategy to repeal the health law, one of its most ardent critics is causing controversy among doctors.

The New York Times: Trump’s Health Secretary Pick Leaves Nation’s Doctors Divided
Seven years ago, the A.M.A.’s support helped lift President Obama’s health care proposals toward passage, and the group has backed the law, with some reservations, since its adoption in 2010. But as Republicans push for its dismantlement, deep disagreements within the A.M.A., which has long wielded tremendous power in Washington, could lessen its influence. The concerns voiced by dissident doctors do not appear to imperil Senate confirmation of [Rep. Tom Price who is nominated to be the new HHS secretary], but they do ensure that his confirmation hearings next month will be as contentious as any held for a Trump nominee, featuring a full public examination of the new president’s proposed health policies. (Pear, 12/26)

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