A pre-lunch update from the reporters and editors of CongressDaily.
SECOND OPINION. President Obama released his version of healthcare overhaul legislation today that is largely based on a Senate-passed bill but with some changes designed to appease House Democrats ahead of Thursday’s health summit. The measure extends a special deal for Nebraska on Medicaid expansion costs to all states, increases the threshold for a tax on high-cost insurance plans and includes a proposal to regulate insurance rates. Senior White House officials estimated the changes would increase the cost of the $871 billion Senate bill to $950 billion but they insisted the new provisions are fully offset. White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said drafters carefully constructed the proposal in anticipation of a Republican filibuster attempt, presumably meaning the measure could pass through reconciliation if necessary.
AN OMEN, PERHAPS. Senate Majority Leader Reid needs at least two Republican votes tonight to end debate on a $15 billion jobs bill, but it isn’t clear he will get them. No Republicans have committed to voting for cloture, but some moderates say they are undecided. But the prospect of a jobs bill stalling in an election year in which angst over unemployment is high begs a vital question: If a jobs bill can’t get a couple of GOP votes, what can? For the record, Republicans say they would be happy to help out on this bill — if Reid would allow amendments.
SOME COUNT MORE THAN OTHERS. Not all governors are created equal. Obama met with the nation’s governors this morning, but only one of them gets a special Oval Office audience later today. Obama pushed education programs to the masses. This afternoon, according to the White House schedule, he’ll meet with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. No word on the agenda, but the term-limited governor will need a job soon.
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In a unanimous decision, "the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it violates insider-trading laws for a corporate officer to make a “gift” of insider information to a relative, a decision that makes it easier for those who police Wall Street to bring prosecutions."
House Speaker Paul Ryan has decreed that House members "won’t receive their committee assignments until January — after they cast a public vote on the House floor for speaker. "The move has sparked behind-the-scenes grumbling from a handful of Ryan critics, who say the delay allows him and the Speaker-aligned Steering Committee to dole out committee assignments based on political loyalty rather than merit or expertise." The roll call to elect the speaker is set for Jan. 3, the first vote of the new Congress.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the government funding bill will be released on Tuesday. The bill is the last piece of legislation Congress needs to pass before leaving for the year and is expected to fund the government through the spring. The exact time date the bill would fund the government through is unclear, though it is expected to be in April or May.
As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."