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Published: Mon, April 24, 2017
Business | By Cristina Jennings

Possible shutdown, health care quagmire awaiting Congress

Possible shutdown, health care quagmire awaiting Congress

This little gem was in the Politico Playbook on Friday, "The White House is hungry for a legislative victory in its first 100 days".

"The big thing that you'd hear from the Freedom Caucus that they are most concerned with-and this would be the same thing you would hear from conservatives in the US Senate-guys like Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee", -all raised concerns with the Ryan bill as well.

Top members of the different factions of the conference - with the help of Vice President Mike Pence, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus - appear to have come to an agreement most feel comfortable with.

But a senior House Republican aide said that revised language for a bill hasn't been agreed on, and there's no text yet for lawmakers to review.

Speaking after Brat's comments, Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of IL said negotiators are still talking.

He tweeted, "Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall".

Asked whether he would seek to prioritize a vote on health care or a government funding bill next week, Trump eagerly replied: "I want to get both". "Somehow, something in the swamp said no", Brat said, alluding to the "drain the swamp" refrain of Trump's 2016 campaign.

Mulvaney said: "I don't think anybody is trying to get to a shutdown".

The deadline to avert a shutdown is Saturday, Trump's 100th day in office, which has increased pressure on the GOP-controlled Congress to also pass an ObamaCare repeal and replacement plan after failing to do so in March. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called shutting down the government over lack of border wall funding the "height of irresponsibility" by Trump. But he said there was "no particular rush" to do it next week, when Congress returns from its spring recess.

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House Republicans learned their lesson after the American Health Care Act crashed and burned. Some Republicans have distanced themselves from that plan.

Mr. Ryan, R-Wis., speaking on a conference call with GOP members, offered no specific plan on how or when lawmakers might see details of a new proposal to revise the Affordable Care Act, which White House officials promised would receive a vote by Wednesday. His amendment is being depicted as a compromise with conservatives in an effort to draw enough support for passage.

Insurers say premiums will soar without subsidies: Carriers must file their Obamacare plans and rates to state regulators in coming weeks. States would be able to set up high risk pools for the most costly people to insure with the goal of bringing down the cost of insurance for healthier individuals.

By ending the Obamacare requirement to cover 10 categories of so-called "essential health benefits", which, before Obamacare, were not "essential", we again have insurance and not a massive new entitlement. It's unclear whether those 20 votes would be enough to get health care through the chamber.

Any deal would have to play the tricky game of winning over both conservatives and moderates in the Republican Party, seeing that Democrats will nearly certainly unite against the plan. The event directly coincides with the White House Correspondents Dinner, forcing many Beltway journalists to trek to central Pennsylvania instead of hobnobbing with celebrities at the Washington Hilton.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the ever-rising cost of federal subsidies for health insurance coverage established by Obamacare is nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years. Much of the savings would be used to pay for tax cuts.

An initial attempt in March ended in a legislative train wreck, stinging Trump and Ryan.

Even before the health care and border wall complications surfaced, the dilemma facing Congressional leaders on funding the government was the same as the health care drama - how to balance the demands of the conservative bloc of House members with the more moderate U.S. Senate?

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