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.
What We're Following See More »
Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."
President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that "there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices—appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election." Speaking to reporters in Colorado, Cruz said: "I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”
The Democratic National Committee sued the Republican National Committee in U.S. District Court in New Jersey for aiding GOP nominee Donald Trump as he argues that the presidential election is "rigged." The DNC claims "that Trump's argument is designed to suppress the vote in minority communities."