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 AlexanderSens introduce bipartisan bill matching Zinke proposed maintenance backlog fix Supreme Court vacancy throws Senate battle into chaos Overnight Health Care: Anti-abortion groups see chance to overturn Roe v. Wade with Kennedy retirement | HHS watchdog to probe detention center conditions | VA pick vows to oppose privatization MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDems launch pressure campaign over migrant families Jane Fonda: Kavanaugh confirmation would be a 'catastrophe' Dems rip Trump DOJ nominee who represented Russian bank 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 SchumerRed-state Dem tells Schumer to 'kiss my you know what' on Supreme Court vote Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick Trump's latest win: More Americans are saying, 'I quit!' 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 GrahamOvernight Health Care: Watchdog finds Tom Price improperly used funds on flights | Ex-Novartis CEO sent drug pricing proposal to Cohen | HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts: report Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyGOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Lawmakers pitch dueling plans for paid family leave New push to break deadlock on paid family leave 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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