In a vote where Democratic leaders scrambled to minimize party defections, the House on Friday approved a Republican bill that would block the cancellation of insurance plans that don’t meet the Obamacare standards.
The Keep Your Health Plan bill passed 261 to 157, with 39 Democrats ending up joining most Republicans in approving the measure.
Senior House Democratic aides already conceded that dozens of Democrats would side with Republicans in favor of the measure. Many rank-and-file lawmakers have been feeling intense pressure to display some response to the troubled roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.
But even as they conceding some defections, one senior Democratic aide told National Journal before the vote that “more than 50 would be a nightmare” in terms of the political optics of having so many Democrats split from President Obama.
The administration on Thursday had even issued a veto threat against the bill.
To help give some of those Democrats another vote they could point to, Democrats tried but were defeated in a procedural move to offer a bill with elements of legislation sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., which would also address existing plans. Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., described the Democratic alternative as “not a step to unravel” the Affordable Care Act, “but a step to improve it.”
On Thursday, Obama announced that he would allow insurers to continue offering individual plans for another year, even if they do not meet the minimum requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
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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."