Wednesday Briefing: Healthcare Fight, Christopher Wray Confirmation Hearing
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spent the last few weeks revising the American Healthcare Bill to a more moderate standard to appeal to both Democrats and a Republicans that are still not on-board. Divisions amongst Senators like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz who want to make the bill more Conservative for a full repeal of Obamacare may not end up getting their wish for the sake of passing the bill.
McConnell said the Senate will begin the voting on the reconstructed bill as early as next week. He also did not make note the revisions that would be made in the legislation.
McConnell also noted that in postponing the full repeal of Obamacare, this allows for more time for a focus on approving nominees such as the largely anticipated confirmation hearing of newly appointed FBI director Christopher Wray.
“We’re going to do healthcare next week,” McConnell spoke to reporters. “Then we’re going to turn to other issues.”
Republicans in the Senate may not yet have the number of votes to get the bill through, despite having full control. If the Bill fails to secure the 50 required votes to pass then this would deal a damaging blow to Republicans and hinder their confidence in fulfilling viable promises to the American people. The stakes are enormous for the GOP and President Trump to win the approval of the American people and pass a major legislation for the first time during the Trump era.
Republicans have put forth a preliminary process where they will receive two draft bills. This includes amendments from Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) which proposes a non-single payer system which allows insurance companies to sell plans that are in noncompliance with federal government mandates. These versions have been submitted to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Moderates and Democrats were critical of the proposal saying it would possibly discriminate against those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Meanwhile the hearing with Christopher Wray will likely be an attempt to hustle him on his priorities as the newly appointed director following disarray surrounding James Comey and the Robert Mueller investigation with Russian collusion.
This will be a hearing focused on getting to know Christopher Wray and if his loyalties lie strongly with President Trump or if he presents a non-partisan type behavior.
Wray served four years in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush, mainly as a counterterrorism expert following the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Look for Wray to also be pressed on the extraordinary amount of leaks coming from the White House to the Press. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stated that investigations into the leaks are already likely underway.
The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time.