Week ahead: Senators push to win support for ObamaCare deal

Week ahead: Senators push to win support for ObamaCare deal
© Greg Nash

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSanders wants pharma CEOs to testify on opioid crisis Trump expects us to trade clean air and water for updated infrastructure House GOP warming to ObamaCare fix MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayLawmakers eye retirement help for gig economy workers Overnight Regulation: Labor Department reportedly hid unfavorable report on tip-pooling rule | NY plans to sue EPA over water rule | Senators urge FTC to probe company selling fake Twitter followers Trump's vows to take on drug prices, opioids draw skepticism MORE (D-Wash.) face a tough challenge as they try to get President Trump and congressional Republicans on board with their bipartisan plan to stabilize ObamaCare's insurance markets.

The senators unveiled a proposal last week to fund key ObamaCare insurer payments and provide states with more flexibility to waive out of ObamaCare rules. 

But, so far, the plan has received a lukewarm reception from Trump and conservative Republicans. 


Trump canceled the payments earlier this month, arguing they were being made illegally, putting the onus on Congress to fund them. 

But some Republicans are wary of looking like they're propping up ObamaCare and see the bill as a bailout for insurers. Others want more concessions from Democrats before they'll vote for the legislation. 

Alexander still needs to win over Trump because Republican leaders likely won't call the bill for a vote without the president's support. A top White House aide says that Trump wants the bill to repeal ObamaCare's mandates and taxes.

If Trump does get on board, it's likely to pass the Senate, where 12 Republicans have already co-sponsored the legislation. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP lawmaker: Dems not standing for Trump is 'un-American' Trump called for unity — he didn’t even last a week Overnight Defense: GOP plays hardball by attaching defense funding to CR | US reportedly drawing down in Iraq | Russia, US meet arms treaty deadline | Why the military wants 6B from Congress MORE (D-N.Y.) said all 48 Democrats support the bill, which would give it the 60 votes needed to pass. 

The tougher challenge lies in the House, where conservatives are pushing for more changes. 

Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Tech: Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up hack | Apple considers battery rebates | Regulators talk bitcoin | SpaceX launches world's most powerful rocket Overnight Cybersecurity: Tillerson proposes new cyber bureau at State | Senate bill would clarify cross-border data rules | Uber exec says 'no justification' for covering up breach MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyRepublican agenda clouded by division Sen. Cassidy says he won’t go back on Kimmel after health care fight GOP lawmakers help people injured in train crash MORE (R-La.) said Thursday they were working on changes to the bill that would make it more likely to win favor in the House. Those changes, though, would push the bill to the right and could cause Democrats to balk.

Meanwhile, funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program expired nearly three weeks ago and Republicans and Democrats in the House haven't made any progress toward a vote.

Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) reopened negotiations with Democrats a few weeks ago after the committee passed a bill that only had the support of Republicans. 

The two sides have been trying to come to an agreement on offsets for the program, but are at a deadlock. 

Walden said previously he would move the bill to the floor for a vote next week but has not indicated if that's still the plan. 


The House returns Monday from a weeklong recess. 

The House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the Department of Health and Human Service's response to the 2017 hurricane season Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Rayburn House Office Building 2123. 

The committee will also hold a hearing on federal efforts to combat the opioid crisis Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the same location. 

A House Appropriations subcommittee will also hold a hearing on NIH-funded research on Tuesday at 10 a.m. On Wednesday, that same committee will hold a hearing on developments in research on down syndrome.

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