ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
74°
Partly Cloudy T-storms
H 92° L 75°
  • cloudy-day
    74°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy T-storms. H 92° L 75°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    92°
    Today
    Partly Cloudy T-storms. H 92° L 75°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    91°
    Tomorrow
    Chance of T-storms. H 91° L 74°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Republicans struggle to push health care bill over House finish line
Close

Republicans struggle to push health care bill over House finish line

Republicans struggle to push health care bill over House finish line
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Republicans struggle to push health care bill over House finish line

In a last minute bid to thread the needle between more conservative and more moderate Republicans, President Donald Trump and GOP leaders in the House are still hoping to bring a health care overhaul bill to a vote today, as they try to find a magic legislative formula that will produce a final agreement acceptable to a bare majority of Republican members.

Here's where things stand.

1. Republicans still seem short on votes. Despite a full day of arm twisting and closed door meetings that stretched late into Wednesday night, the President seemed no closer to a majority in the House - in fact, the numbers seemed to go the wrong way yesterday, as several more moderate Republicans like Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) announced they could not support the bill. "We gave our word that we would repeal and replace it," said Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) of Obamacare. "This bill does not go far enough." Yoho - a Freedom Caucus member - though said he was open to a last minute deal, but that remained elusive as the sun came up on Thursday. President Trump is set to meet with Freedom Caucus members just before lunch at the White House.

2. For some the negotiations just don't matter. As we have seen on major legislation in recent years, there are a small group of Republicans who just aren't going to get to a "Yes" vote under the current direction of negotiations. "We promised to repeal Obamacare and improve health care for Americans. This bill does neither," said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who is a certain "No" vote. Even as members of the House Freedom Caucus met into the night on Wednesday, it was obvious that some in that group, like Amash, would not get on board with the final product - and on their own, they have more than enough votes to sink this GOP bill if they withhold their support. This was a tweet from the group's spokeswoman.

3. There is no groundswell of support back home. One peculiar situation about the GOP drive on health care is that they are not only taking flak from Democrats, but also from conservative groups who don't like the direction of the bill - and that combination is bringing a distinct message from back home, as well as groups that watch GOP lawmakers like a hawk. "Unfortunately, even with recently submitted changes, the American Health Care Act has too many ObamaCare-like flaws," the conservative group Freedom Works said in a statement. Other groups like the Heritage Foundation have been openly working to stop the bill as well - and lawmakers say the folks back home have made quite clear their dislike for the bill.

4. What late changes are being considered to the GOP bill? There was a lot of talk on Wednesday night of major alterations to the bill, some of which might not even survive tight Senate rules dealing with budget reconciliation. The work mainly centered on re-writing the definition of "Essential Health Benefits" in the Obama health law, to allow insurance companies to offer more limited - and therefore less expensive for consumers. Here is the EHB list in current law - these can be modified administratively by the Trump Administration and the Secretary of Health and Human Services; but a number of Republican lawmakers want them changed in law. That most likely will take 60 votes in the Senate.

Jamie Dupree
Close

health94

Jamie Dupree

5. Wait - the EHB change takes 60 votes in the Senate? The logical question to ask is - if you can't change the Essential Health Benefits in a budget reconciliation bill, because it will get knocked out in the Senate, why put that in this House bill? Well, it may be the only way to get the bill out of the House with enough votes, and send it over to the Senate. Republicans were already engaged in public lobbying of the Senate Parliamentarian, who has the job of ruling on specific provisions of reconciliation bills, as they tried to argue in public that she might change her mind on the matter. Behind the scenes, it wasn't really apparent that anything had changed along these lines, but the GOP hope was that if EHB changes were included in the bill, the provision could get through the House and just be knocked out in the Senate, without destroying the underlying measure.

6. Will the vote be Thursday or later? Republicans were ready to give themselves several days of wiggle room on the health care matter, as the House was expected to approve a measure that allows the GOP to quickly bring a final health care deal to the floor for a vote, any time over the next four days - through Monday. So, there could be a showdown vote on health care today, tomorrow, over the weekend, or early next week. Basically, if Republicans and the White House think they've got the votes, then they will rush to the House floor to push that through. "We have not cut the deal, yet," Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) acknowledged late on Wednesday night in the House Rules Committee.

7. GOP ready to repeat the Nancy Pelosi 2010 quote. Republicans love to talk up the out-of-context quote from then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2010, when she said the Congress would just have to pass a health care bill in order to see what was in it. If you really research the quote, you see she wasn't saying that, but that hasn't stopped the GOP from throwing it in her face for the past seven years. Now, Democrats are delighting in watching the GOP maybe doing the same thing. With major changes being looked at last night, it was not clear as the day began what exactly the Republicans would be voting on - and it was possible that no cost estimate, or insurance coverage estimate details would be ready for when lawmakers did vote in the House.

Stay tuned - it could be a very interesting day in the House.

Read More

News

  • A Kentucky man was diagnosed with a flesh-eating infection after he went camping along the Green River. >> Read more trending news According to WKYT, Jonathan Metcalf and his family, who live in Lancaster, visited the river on Memorial Day weekend. But the trip came to an early end when Metcalf started to feel uncomfortable, dizzy and feverish after camping and swimming in the area. After the family returned home, Metcalf developed a painful sore on his thigh that eventually prevented him from walking, he told the TV station. He then went to the doctor, who said Metcalf was suffering from necrotizing fasciitis, WKYT reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rare, life-threatening infection typically occurs when so-called 'flesh-eating bacteria' enter a person's system through an open wound.  Metcalf said surgeons ended up removing a 6-inch piece of his thigh. He remained in the hospital for two weeks and still needs a skin graft, he told the TV station. 'This never would have crossed my mind something like this could have hit me,' Metcalf told WKYT. Read more here.
  • The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has issued an endangered child alert for a 1-year-old boy who went missing from Putnam County.  >> Read more trending news According to the TBI, 1-year-old Lachlan Thomas Capo was last seen Wednesday with Margot Walker.  Investigators said Walker may be driving either a blue 2002 Volvo with Tennessee tag 4K7-7F9 or a black 2002 Volvo with Tennessee tag B77-71L.  It is unclear what Walker’s relationship is to the child. Capo was described as 3 feet tall with brown hair and brown eyes. He weighs 30 pounds. Anyone with information regarding the child’s whereabouts is asked to call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 931-528-8484. – Visit Fox13Memphis.com for the latest on this developing story.
  • A 29-year-old mother and her three young children were found stabbed to death at a Columbus, Georgia, apartment Wednesday night, according to multiple media reports. >> Read more news stories Jerriciah Spellman and her children were killed near 20th Avenue and Cusseta Road, Muscogee County coroner Buddy Bryan told Columbus-based news station WTVM.  The children were 3 years old, 1 year old and approximately 4 or 5 months old, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported. The incident happened sometime Wednesday evening at the Elizabeth Canty apartment complex. No details on what events led to the deadly stabbing have been released. Columbus police officers discovered the quadruple homicide scene after receiving a tip earlier in the day at a separate scene, WTVM reported. Investigators are talking to a person of interest, but no suspects have been named, the news station reported. Anyone with information is asked to call 911. – Visit AJC.com for the latest on this developing story.
  • Investigators in Georgia are trying to identify a woman whose body was found in the Chattahoochee River. >> Read more trending news They are hoping a new sketch will help produce leads in the case. WSB-TV’s Matt Johnson went to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s headquarters in DeKalb County, where the agency’s sketch artist gave him the drawing of the woman in hopes that it will get them one step closer toward figuring out who she is. A boater found the woman's body Wednesday along the Chattahoochee River, south of Interstate 20 in Fulton County. Detectives believe she is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs about 110 pounds and is between 22 and 35 years old. “Tell us who she is so that she can get the proper burial with her family,” said Detective Jamie Gore with the Fulton County Police Department. Investigators said the woman was wearing distinct earrings, and police believe she may have been near the river for the Fourth of July. “I have her clothing, which was just a sports bra, a black sports bra. She had on two pairs of underwear; one was white (and) black, and one was a lighter cotton color, boy shorts style,” Gore said. The medical examiner has not been able to make a determination for cause of death, but there are no signs of obvious foul play. Police told Johnson they have searched through missing people reports and fingerprint databases but have not had any luck. Now, they hope this sketch by the GBI will be the final piece they need to solve the puzzle. “There has to be someone who misses her or who knows who she is,” Gore said. Anyone with information can call Fulton County police or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.
  • At least 12 people are believed to be dead and dozens injured after a man set fire to a well-known Kyoto animation studio Thursday, authorities said. >> Read more trending news According to the Mainichi, the man, whose name has not been released but is believed to be in his 40s, poured a flammable liquid and started the blaze at Kyoto Animation about 10:30 a.m. local time. At least 70 people were inside, but most were able to get out of the building, The Associated Press reported. Officials said seven people are confirmed dead and 16 presumed dead, the AP reported. At least 35 people were hurt, with some in critical condition, authorities said. The suspect was hospitalized for injuries, as well, officials told the Mainichi.  A fire official told the AP that as many as 18 people were unaccounted for. The studio has produced popular shows such as 'Lucky Star,' 'K-On!' and 'Sound! Euphonium.' – The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • An electric scooter rider was hit and killed by a CobbLinc bus in Midtown on Wednesday night, police confirmed. Just before 10:30 p.m., officers responded to the accident at the intersection of West Peachtree Street and 15th Street, Atlanta police spokeswoman TaSheena Brown told AJC.com. The man was trapped under the bus when firefighters arrived. He died before firefighters were able to extricate him. He has not been identified. The bus was turning right onto 15th Street when it hit the man, according to police. Surveillance footage from the nearby Arts Center MARTA station showed the victim on a scooter before the crash, but it did not capture the actual collision. A scooter was found in the street on the bus’s passenger side, Capt. William Ricker told Channel 2 Action News from the scene.  IN-DEPTH:  After period of leniency, Atlanta police now enforcing scooter law “We're hoping that the actual footage from the bus itself, which has cameras, will paint the real story of how it took place,” he said. So far, police have not been able to determine who was at fault.  The collision is believed to be the second deadly accident involving electric scooters in the city of Atlanta.  RELATED: Victim ID’d in first deadly e-scooter accident in Atlanta The first on May 17 also happened near a MARTA station. A man on a Lime scooter was hit and killed while leaving the parking lot of the West Lake station in west Atlanta. The driver of a Cadillac SUV is facing charges in that crash. MORE: Driver arrested in Atlanta’s first deadly e-scooter accident Considered an alternative transportation mode for short trips, electric scooters have been growing in popularity in urban areas. The narrow, two-wheeled devices can be rented through smartphone apps that charge by the mile. At least four rental companies operate in Atlanta, including California-based Lime.  It is not known what kind of scooter the man was riding in Wednesday night’s incident.  We are working to learn more. — Please return to AJC.com for updates. In other news: