A shutdown’s worth of political famine behind them, Senate Republicans took to the Senate floor to feast on the Affordable Care Act and its troubles.
Senator after senator, from defund-Obamacare champion Ted Cruz of Texas to the pragmatic aisle-crosser Susan Collins of Maine, shared stories of their constituents losing their health insurance. In all, of the 45 Republicans senators, 34 spoke on Thursday.
President Obama’s much-criticized line promising Americans they could keep their plans if they wanted to was a prominent feature in most of the short speeches. That Republicans are pouncing on the plan’s troubles is far from surprising, but the show Thursday underscored the sharp contrast between the GOP’s current position and the frayed status of the conference during the shutdown and the debt-limit fight.
The usually sleepy Senate chamber crackled with the sounds of confident Republicans, whose speeches highlighted woes but didn’t offer policy tweaks or new legislation.
A grinning Minority Leader Mitch McConnell previewed the onslaught—and the GOP’s thinking—Wednesday after the weekly party luncheon. “Obviously, the panic has set in on the other side. Everything we predicted was going to happen with Obamacare has happened,” he said.
Senate Democrats, for their part, are meeting with White House officials in the Capitol at 1 p.m. Thursday to discuss a possible legislative path forward.
A Senate Democratic leadership aide suggested that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could use the bill expected to pass from Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., as a possible vehicle to offer their own fixes to the law. But much depends on how the meeting with administration officials goes, the aide said.
What We're Following See More »
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified on Friday the makes and models of 12 million cars and motorcycles that have been recalled because of defective air bag inflators made by Japanese supplier Takata. The action includes 4.3 million Chryslers; 4.5 million Hondas; 1.6 million Toyotas; 731,000 Mazdas; 402,000 Nissans; 383,000 Subarus; 38,000 Mitsubishis; and 2,800 Ferraris. ... Analysts have said it could take years for all of the air bags to be replaced. Some have questioned whether Takata can survive the latest blow."
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says 41 Secret Service agents have been disciplined in the fallout of an investigation over the agency's leak of personnel files. The leaker, who has resigned, released records showing that Oversight and Government Reform Chair Jason Chaffetz—who was leading an investigation of Secret Service security lapses—had applied for a job at the agency years before. The punishments include reprimands and suspension without pay. "Like many others I was appalled by the episode reflected in the Inspector General’s report, which brought real discredit to the Secret Service," said Johnson.
Mitt Romney spoke in an interview with the Wall Street Journal about his decision to challenge Donald Trump. “Friends warned me, ‘Don’t speak out, stay out of the fray,’ because criticizing Mr. Trump will only help him by giving him someone else to attack. They were right. I became his next target, and the incoming attacks have been constant and brutal.” Still, "I wanted my grandkids to see that I simply couldn’t ignore what Mr. Trump was saying and doing, which revealed a character and temperament unfit for the leader of the free world.”
"A bill to help Puerto Rico handle its $70 billion debt crisis is facing an uncertain future in the Senate. No Senate Democrats have endorsed a bill backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, while some are actively fighting it. ... On the Republican side, senators say they’re hopeful to pass a bill but don’t know if they can support the current legislation — which is expected to win House approval given its backing from leaders in that chamber."