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Senate Dems spell out conditions on bipartisan tax reform

05 August 2017

McConnell has not publicly declared the Republican effort to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act over, but the mood on Capitol Hill has decidedly shifted to the next legislative battle: cutting taxes.

President Donald Trump's already tenuous relationship with the establishment of the Republican Party was thrown into further doubt following the ouster of former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

Into the fray has stepped Sen.

Republicans could decide to abandon the reconciliation strategy for tax reform or have the Senate Finance Committee attach tax reform, with required savings, to the fiscal year 2017 resolution, Hoagland said. In particular, senators were aghast over Trump's recent attacks on their longtime colleague Jeff Sessions, the former Alabama senator who is now attorney general and facing Trump's wrath over having recused himself from the investigation into possible collaboration between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign. Patty Murray of Washington state, on a bill next month that would pay insurers through 2018.

Flake was also highly critical of conservatives' treatment of President Barack Obama while he was in office.

And Republicans have also failed to make much progress on other marquee agenda items, like a tax overhaul or an infrastructure bill, while falling behind on the annual spending bills needed to keep the lights on in government.

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The Senate confirmed a new Federal Bureau of Investigation director and Congress also repealed 14 Obama-era regulations.

The Senate is scheduled to be in session through the end of next week. Republicans hold a 52-48 advantage in the Senate, which means Democratic backing will be crucial.

The Democratic Party's embrace of more enforcement-focused trade policies is an extension of the larger economic platform it introduced last week that earned plaudits from progressive leaders for embracing strong new antitrust regulation and efforts to lower prescription drug prices. "I expect Congress to go out here pretty soon, and I'll be ready to go back to work in September". Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a committee member. Trump has called for renegotiating NAFTA, a deal he bashed ceaselessly as a candidate.

Trump has threatened anew in recent days to cut off the payments to insurers, which total $7 billion this year and are helping trim out-of-pocket costs for 7 million people.

"I was shocked by that", responded Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. "I don't know if I want to prop it up". Whether he is able to bring such a bill to the floor and get it passed prior to members heading out of town is uncertain.

Also ominous are the party's rifts over funding the government near-term and avoiding October 1 federal agency shutdowns. The comments were echoed by other Republican senators.

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"In fact, it would be kind of miraculous if we could get it down to 25 percent or less", Hatch said. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. "We can't just throw money at the problem".

But Alexander does have allies.

"We have not done well on the big events", said Sen.

They won't support any upcoming GOP effort to overhaul the US tax code that delivers tax cuts to "the top 1 percent" or adds to the government's $20 trillion debt.

Yet House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stripped similar language out of a water bill past year, a development Baldwin attributed to the fact that "foreign steel companies bought Washington lobbyists to kill it".

Whether or not Republicans can pass a tax bill - and whether or not their voters will forgive them for not passing a health care bill - are two questions that will hang over the GOP majority for the rest of 2017.

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A federal court a year ago ruled the subsidies unconstitutional, but they've continued to be paid pending settlement negotiations. Add to the list: Attorneys general, business leaders, governors, medical providers and even some Republican lawmakers.

Durbin said if Republicans are truly concerned about keeping insurance markets stable, "they have to do something".