In the news this week: the GOP’s zombie ACA repeal bill continues to terrorize America, Trump-Russia investigation expands, and Democrats release there new agenda “A Better Deal”.
- On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would delay consideration of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, while Senator John McCain recovered from surgery for a blood clot. (Senator McCain has since announced that he has brain cancer.)
- Days later, Senator McConnell said that the Senate would vote on whether to “repeal and delay” – that is, repeal major parts of Obamacare and allow two years to come up with a replacement. This latest plan, set for a vote next week, would make the insurance market unstable, raise premiums, and leave 32 million more Americans without insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
- The GOP health care proposal appeared to fizzle Thursday as party leaders struggled to explain what exactly they would be voting on next week.
- Senator Cardin said Republicans need to give up on the ideal of repealing Obamacare and work with Democrats to fix problems in the current law.
- Senator Van Hollen told MSNBC that “no amount of selling something that’s a real stinker is going to persuade the American people to come on board.”
- Meanwhile, Senator Van Hollen is making another call for people to tweet their personal health care stories.
- Representative Ruppersberger (MD-2) asks constituents to share their health care stories.
- In perhaps another sign that the Russia investigation is heating up, the Washington Post is reporting that some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.
- Earlier this week, President Trump told the New York Times that he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney general if he knew that Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
- Also this week, the Trump administration confirmed that the president spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a second, previously undisclosed meeting at the G20 summit.
- Senator Cardin told NPR that it was “remarkable” that the president “does not realize that the attorney general is the attorney general for the people of this country” and does not act in “a personal position for the president.” Cardin described the previously undisclosed meeting between Trump and Putin as “troubling.”
- Meanwhile, legislation to impose sanctions on Russia is still evolving, with American oil and natural gas companies warning Congress that the new regulations would harm them, too. Senator Cardin, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that the Senate bill is flexible enough to deal with industry concerns.
- Congressman Cummings demands details on how Secret Service vetted Russians at Trump Tower meeting
The Democratic agenda
- Senator Van Hollen has reportedly been working with Democratic congressional leaders to hash out the party’s legislative policy agenda, to be revealed on Monday.
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Representative Sarbanes (MD-3) told reporters during a Tuesday news conference that their party was developing a series of legislative proposals they dubbed the “By the People Project” that would include updates to the nation’s ethics and elections systems.
Senator Cardin raised nearly $1 million in the second quarter of 2017, fueling speculation that he’ll seek reelection in 2018. Cardin, 73, has not yet said definitively whether he will run for reelection and a third term.
- Congressman Ruppersburger continues to fight for funding for FBI Headquarters project.
- Ruppersburger works to restore $60 million in federal funds for the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort.
- Ruppersburger objects to House Panel signing of on $1.8B for DHS Cyber Office, taking $100M from cybersecurity and research and development work in order to build the border wall
- Cummings reacts to House GOP proposal to cut federal employees’ retirement
- Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state and operational leader of the Commission on Election Integrity, defended the commission’s request for voter information from every state, citing his state’s 128 cases of alleged voter fraud as a major concern; Cummings and other reps penned a letter Tuesday to Vice President Mike Pence, requesting for Kobach to resign and called the commission’s actions a voter suppression technique; more here and here.
- Outgoing ethics chief looks forward to meeting with Representative Cummings (MD-7).
- Representative Cummings (MD-7) raises questions about Transportation Department’s closing of civil rights complaint on Red Line cancellation.
- Maya Rockeymoore, wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings, weighs run for Md. governor
- Baltimore – more specifically, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s connection to Baltimore – apparently irritated the president, who remarked in the same New York Times interview about the Russia investigation that the city has “very few Republicans,” “if any.”
- After hospitalization, Cummings plans to return to work during the August recess; more here.
- Representative Sarbanes (MD-3) among House members demanding apology from Turkish president after violent clash between Turkish President’s bodyguards and protesters; more here.