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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"House Republicans are circulating the text of an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill that they believe could bring many conservatives on board. According to legislative text of the amendment," drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), "the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats—and many more moderate Republicans—warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums."
President Trump on Wednesday "will order a review of national monuments created over the past 20 years with an aim toward rescinding or resizing some of them—part of a broader push to reopen areas to drilling, mining, and other development." Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters on Tuesday said he'd be reviewing about 30 monuments.
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.