Sábado, 23 Febrero, 2019

No vote on healthcare bill this week in U.S. House

Courtesy MGN Courtesy MGN
Manuel Armenta | 04 May, 2017, 16:17

Democratic votes will be needed to pass the measure even though Republicans control both the White House and Congress.

The measure keeps the federal government open for another week to give lawmakers enough time to finish off a bipartisan agreement to fund the government through September. "We may address border security in this bill as well, but it will not include any funding for the wall, plain and simple", Schumer said from the Senate floor this week.

The delays caused a headache for the White House, which had been hoping to have more on the books before Trump reaches his 100-day mark in office on Saturday.

Republican lawmakers have downplayed the chances of a shutdown as the Trump administration has struggled to score major legislative victories despite winning the first unified GOP government in a decade. But late Thursday, House leaders abandoned that effort for now after falling short of the votes they would need for passage.

"As soon as we have the votes, we'll vote on it", House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters late Thursday after leaving a meeting of the House GOP leadership that lasted almost two hours.

On the spending bill, minority Democrats had threatened to withhold support for the temporary spending bill unless there was a bipartisan deal on the long-term $1 trillion measure.

The aides required anonymity because they were not allowed to speak about the agreement by name.

Among the final issues resolved was a Democratic request to help the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico with its Medicaid burden, a top priority of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Republicans had pressed for policy wins with so-called riders related to other abortion-related issues and blocking environmental regulations such as Obama's sweeping expansion of the Clean Water Act.

Outside of Trump's grievances, it will be near-impossible for Republican leadership to sell all its spending concessions to the entirety of its conference - especially once conservatives realize just how much their party has to concede. A failure to pass the bill would have resulted in a government shutdown that would close national parks, delay tax refunds and suspend thousands of federal employees' pay. Democrats and Republicans roughly split the "no" votes. Sticking points remain, he said, but there was progress.

The stopgap resolution also extends health-care coverage by one week for more than 22,000 retired coal miners and their dependents, who were facing a loss of care with the government deadline.

Republicans have recast it to let states escape a requirement under President Barack Obama's 2010 law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates. But Democrats pushed back and were hopeful that the measure would not contain many items they deemed "poison pills".

The White House is pushing House GOP leaders to try again on health care, and there's been recent progress as the conservative House Freedom Caucus endorsed the latest version of the bill.