This Week in Congress: Bipartisan Health Care Bill May Have the Votes for Passage, House to Consider the Budget, Senate Will Vote on Disaster Aid
Health Care. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Meet the Press Sunday that the Alexander-Murray bill, a bipartisan effort to shore up the Affordable Care Act, has the 60 votes needed for passage and that Republicans should move it to the floor. Discussions on the bill continue.
- The Alexander-Murray bill is a bipartisan compromise that has its roots in a plan created by the Problem Solvers Caucus, which works to create bipartisan legislative solutions. Former Senator Joe Lieberman explains it well in an op-ed in The Hill.
- Schumer said the bill has support from 48 Democrats and 12 Republicans.
- Schumer urged Republicans, who control the Senate, to move it to a vote, saying, “it will pass and it will pass by a large number of votes.”
- Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would move the bill to the floor if President Trump will sign it, but it is unclear where the president stands.
- Negotiations continue, with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham working to make the bill more palatable to Trump and House members.
Budget and Taxes. The House will take up the budget resolution passed by the Senate, which is a necessary precursor to tax reform efforts. It is not expected to encounter heavy opposition.
- The Senate resolution included provisions to help ease House opposition and perhaps expedite the process.
- House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly said that passing the budget resolution could pave the way for the House to pass a tax bill by Thanksgiving. The speedy timeline would be necessary to enact tax reform into law this year.
- Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had a call with House Republicans Sunday to rally support for the budget resolution and tax reform.
- Though there is much discussion of what a tax bill might contain, specifics have not yet been released.
Disaster Aid. The Senate is expected to send a House-passed, $36.5 billion aid package to Trump’s desk for signature this week, funding disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida and California. Some lawmakers say even more aid is needed, but support for such an effort is unclear.