Republicans Signal Desire to Keep Working on Health Care Reform
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are signaling a commitment to continue trying to overhaul the nation's health care system, after their push to repeal former President Barack Obama's signature program failed in dramatic fashion last week.
House leaders opted not to hold a vote on the Republican health care bill when it became clear it did not have enough support to pass. Some opponents feared the measure would force too many people to lose health coverage, while others said it did not go far enough in reforming Obama's Affordable Care Act.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday after a meeting with Republican lawmakers that members are ready to "work together and listen together." "It is just too important," he said. "Obamacare is doing too much damage to families. And so we're going to get this right, and in the meantime, we're going to do all of our other work that we came here to do."
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was also optimistic, saying Republicans will follow through on their promise to repeal and replace the ACA. "Coming out of that conference I have more confidence that we will get it done," McCarthy said.
President Donald Trump initially reacted to Friday's failure by saying he was ready to move on to other priorities such as tax reform. But he has continued to criticize the current system and on Tuesday said he was sure there will be reforms.
"I know that we're all going to make a deal on health care. That's such an easy one. So I have no doubt that that's going to happen very quickly," he said at a White House reception with a group of both Democratic and Republican senators.
Neither Trump nor the House leaders gave an indication about when a new health care bill would be ready for action. And along with their positive statements Tuesday there were still mixed signals about how much of a priority health care is to Republicans right now.
Nunes Controversy Could Stall House Russia Inquiry
Embattled House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes threw a formerly bipartisan investigation of Russian election interference into doubt Tuesday, as he rejected calls for his recusal and stopped the committee’s work for the rest of the week.
An anticipated closed door briefing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers was postponed, deepening the frustrations of Democratic members who said Nunes’ actions over the last week and a-half jeopardized his credibility and undermined his ability to lead the investigation.
Nunes met a source on White House grounds before making his disclosure last week that members of President Donald Trump's transition team were caught up in “incidental” surveillance, according to his spokesman, who added that Nunes wanted “to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source.”
That revelation led ranking Democratic committee member Rep. Adam Schiff to call for Nunes to step away from the Russia investigation.
“Why would I do that?” Nunes asked a small group of reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday. “Everything is moving as is.” But Democrats said the committee's work has stalled.
Nunes has still not revealed the identity of the source.
He spoke with reporters and the president about the material last week without informing any of the other 21 members of the House Intelligence Committee, angering Democrats who questioned Nunes' credibility. Nunes later apologized to the committee.