Well, it looks like House Republicans are back to the drawing board over what to do about the debt limit.
House Leadership has pulled the plug on proposals that would tie raising the debt ceiling to approval of the Keystone XL pipeline or eliminating the so-called risk corridors in the Affordable Care Act, because neither plan could reach 218 votes, according to a House aide with knowledge of the talks.
The debt limit has been suspended through Feb. 7, and the Treasury Department estimates it can take enough extraordinary measures to last through the end of the month before risking default.
Republicans may seek other priorities in exchange for raising the debt limit, but no clear strategy has emerged.
A number of Republicans have anticipated that the House will eventually vote on a clean debt-ceiling increase. Even conservatives such as Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho are saying that’s the path forward. “I actually think we should just do a clean debt ceiling,” he told reporters this week. “Give the Democrats their vote. We don’t have to vote for it.”
Another conservative, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, echoed that sentiment: “I think at the end of the day we’re basically going to have something equivalent to a clean debt ceiling increase,” he said Tuesday. “I wish they would do something substantive, but they’re not going to, so let’s just avoid the theater and get on with it.”
The risk corridor provision of the Affordable Care Act would partially reimburse insurance companies for people who wind up costing insurers more than they paid in premiums by over 3 percent. The program is only in place for three years, beginning with this year.
On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office found that the program would save the government about $8 billion.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."