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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"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."
"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.
"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."