Healthcare Replacement Bill
Last Friday afternoon, House Republican leaders pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from consideration on the House floor. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) provided remarks just after 4 p.m. Eastern Time Friday, in which he conceded, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare [the Affordable Care Act (ACA)], for the foreseeable future.” There is no indication at this early date whether or not the Republican effort to “repeal” and “replace” will be resurrected.
The defeat of this bill last Friday was seen as a victory for Democrats and many national healthcare groups, including the American Medical Association and others, who opposed the AHCA for a number of reasons including that 24 million Americans would lose healthcare coverage if this bill had passed.
Agriculture Secretary Confirmation Hearing
Former Georgia governor George “Sonny” Perdue faced questions last Thursday during his confirmation hearing held by the Senate Agriculture Committee, chaired by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). During the hearing, Mr. Perdue sought to assure farm-state policymakers that he supports many of the USDA programs targeted for cuts in President Trump’s budget blueprint.
The two-hour-and-20 minute hearing was mostly friendly and non-confrontational. Senators avoided asking questions about Perdue’s past ethics challenges, including the 13 complaints to the Georgia Ethics Commission during his two terms as governor.
The Committee will hold a separate business meeting to vote on the nomination. Chairman Roberts said the vote will be scheduled “ASAP.”
Supreme Court Nominee Confirmation Update
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a markup today on Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) has opposed the nomination and announced that Gorsuch will face a filibuster. Republicans, on the other hand, have expressed confidence Gorsuch will be confirmed. It is unlikely that the actual vote will take place until next week.