Fresh Off Major Legislative Victory, McConnell And Ryan Barreling Toward Battle Over Health Subsidies
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) he'd pass legislation that stabilizes the health law's marketplaces. House lawmakers, however, are furious over the guarantee. Meanwhile, a new fight over abortion becomes latest wrench in year-end spending deal.
Ryan And McConnell Head For Clash Over Obamacare
Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are about to lock horns over Obamacare — part of a House-Senate clash that needs to be resolved by Friday to avert a government shutdown. McConnell promised moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine that he would prop up President Barack Obama’s signature health law in a must-pass, year-end spending bill — so long as she backs tax reform. But Ryan’s more conservative conference is flatly rejecting that idea and urging the Wisconsin Republican to stand firm against his Senate counterpart. (Bade and Haberkorn, 12/19)
Senate To Pack Stopgap Bill With CHIP, Disaster Aid, Obamacare Subsidy Fix
Senate GOP leaders are planning to load up this week’s must-pass spending bill with contentious provisions ranging from Obamacare subsidies to surveillance powers, the No. 2 Republican said Tuesday. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the stopgap spending bill would serve as a catchall for a spate of “must-do” policy items — offering the clearest signal yet of the chamber’s plan to avoid a shutdown on Friday. (Ferris, 12/19)
Collins Decries Coverage Of Her Tax Bill Support As 'Unbelievably Sexist'
Sen. Susan Collins on Tuesday blasted coverage of her support for the GOP tax bill as “extremely discouraging” and “unbelievably sexist." The Maine Republican, a key swing vote on the tax package, accused reporters of ignoring her influence over the final legislation and unfairly criticizing her efforts to pass a pair of Obamacare stabilization bills. (Cancryn, 12/19)
Abortion Fight Threatens Collins Deal, Risks Shutdown
A new fight over abortion has thrown a late obstacle into negotiations on the year-end stopgap spending deal days before a possible government shutdown. House Republicans say two ObamaCare measures that Senate GOP leaders are expected to attach to the stopgap as part of a deal with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) must include Hyde Amendment language prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortion. (Hellmann and Sullivan, 12/19)
Anti-Abortion Groups Press For Change To ObamaCare Bills
More than 50 anti-abortion groups are calling on Congress to amend an ObamaCare stabilization bill to ensure that federal funding doesn't go to plans that cover abortions. Led by the Susan B. Anthony List, the groups are pressuring lawmakers to vote against the bill, sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), that would reimburse insurance companies for giving discounted deductibles and copays to low-income customers. (Hellmann, 12/19)