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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 AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers 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. 

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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 SchumerManchin wrestles with progressive backlash in West Virginia The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' 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 GrahamLawmakers point fingers at Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi's death The Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia Trump should stick to his guns and close failed South Carolina nuclear MOX project MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTrump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Dem ad accuses Heller of 'lying' about record on pre-existing conditions GOP senator suggests criminal referral for third Kavanaugh accuser's 'apparently false affidavit' 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. 

Hearings

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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