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.
For more, see this afternoon’s CongressDailyPM. For breaking news, see the CongressDaily Web site.
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"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."
"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."
"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."
After initially promising it in August, "President Trump said Monday that he will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic." When asked, he also "declined to express confidence in Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, in the wake of revelations that the lawmaker helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies."