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National Govt & Politics
Still no deal in the Senate on GOP health care plan
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Still no deal in the Senate on GOP health care plan

Still no deal in the Senate on GOP health care plan
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Still no deal in the Senate on GOP health care plan

Republican Senators headed home for the weekend still at odds over the details of a GOP bill to overhaul the Obama health law, as Senate leaders vowed to press ahead early next week with a first procedural vote on the matter, though it still isn't clear what exactly the GOP might vote on in an effort to break the deadlock on this top agenda item of President Donald Trump.

"The Democrats did their bill on their own, and obviously it's got flaws that I think everyone would recognize; Republicans are beginning to feel like we're getting into that same mode, if you want to be honest," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who said he worried that the GOP plan was being slapped together without an overall grand plan.

With a procedural vote expected next week on a motion to start debate on the bill, it wasn't even clear for Senators what GOP leaders would offer on the floor as an alternative to the House-passed health care bill.

"I'm not yet decided," Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) told a group of reporters pursuing him in the hallways of the Capitol. "It depends what's in the bill."

And on that point, GOP leaders didn't have an answer on the details.

GOP Senators were being pursued every-which-way-possible at the Capitol complex, as reporters sought the latest update on the health care bill.

Down in the basement of the Capitol, as Senators arrived for votes, Democrats would walk by - and sometimes not one reporter would move; a few seconds later, a Republican Senator would walk off the subway, and was immediately mobbed by reporters.

"I think they want to talk to you," a smiling Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said as reporters descended upon him and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-ND), who sold insurance for many years in his home state.

"With the Obamacare model that's in place today, you're going to have increases in deductibles and co-pays," Rounds argued to reporters, though GOP Senators haven't rallied around what their full answer should be to reverse that.

"You just have people committed to trying to fix this problem," said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who has repeatedly made clear his frustration with how GOP leaders have tried to put together this bill.

And that has led some Republicans to openly worry about how the GOP is forging a final plan.

"It's feeling a little bazaar like - like a bidding war right now," Corker said.

Demonstrating some of the frustration of the moment, Corker even suggested that his party go back to the idea of repealing large chunks of the Obama health law - without anything to replace it.

"I am beginning to feel that the best way to do it would be just to repeal - set a two or three year transition period, and force both parties to get together," Corker said.

But there did not seem to be enough GOP votes for that idea.

"Senate Republicans complain of chaos in healthcare effort," was one headline in my morning email inbox - as it's not clear which way the GOP is going on health care reform at this point.

In the House, GOP lawmakers could only sit back and wait.

"I'm hopeful that we'll see the Senate try to regroup, look at the issue, and try to work it out," said Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK).

"I continue to trust that the Senate will do their job," said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA).

Not only is there some frustration with the Senate among GOP lawmakers, but a little with the White House as well.

"I really lay a lot of the blame on the Trump Administration itself," said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH).

"The President hasn't really shown leadership and guidance on what the plan should be, and it's left several different groups to work together to try to fashion one," Turner said.

Stay tuned.

Read More

News

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  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson mixed up his real estate terms at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, mistaking “real estate owned,” a foreclosure term, for Oreo, as in the cookie.  >> Read more trending news  Representative Katie Porter, (D-CA), was asking Carson about the high REO rates. Porter said the Federal Housing Administration has more properties that become real estate owned than other loans. >> Trending: 14-year-old boy dies after severe beating as baby; ‘Carl’s life was nothing but pain’ Here’s the exchange: “I would also like to ask you to get back to me, if you don’t mind, to explain the disparity in REO rates. Do you know what a REO is?” Porter asked. “An Oreo?” Carson replied. “R, no not an Oreo. An R-E-O,” Porter responded. “Real estate?” Carson asked. “What does the O stand for?” Porter asked Carson. “E organization?” he responded. Porter went on to explain that when a property goes into foreclosure, it’s called an REO. After the hearing, Carson made light of the mix-up, posting a photo of himself with a package of Oreo cookies to social media and tagging Porter. >> Trending: Former White House counsel Don McGahn ignores subpoena, skips Congressional hearing “Enjoying a few post-hearing snacks. Sending some your way!” he wrote on Twitter. Oreo got in on the action by Tuesday afternoon, posting a response on social media. “REO stands for ‘Really Excellent OREO (cookie).’ Everyone knows that,” the brand posted.
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  • Memorial Day -- it is a holiday many Americans celebrate by spending time with loved ones and enjoying the May weather.  >> Read more trending news But how might some of the more than 21 million U.S. veterans view and celebrate one the country's most somber holidays, which was created to remember the men and women who died fighting for their country? Retired U.S. Army Gen. Bob Drolet told WHNT, 'We're engaged in conflict today in the Middle East and there are people who are giving their lives almost on a daily basis. So you have to have a day where you remember the sacrifices.'  And there are many sacrifices to remember. According to findings from the Pew Research Center, since Sept. 11, 2001, about half of U.S. vets have served alongside a comrade who was killed, with that number rising for men and women in combat.   And because of those firsthand horrors experienced in battle, many soldiers and veterans spend Memorial Day a bit differently than the average American might.   Take Capt. David Danelo, the author of 'The Return' and a Marine Corps infantry officer who served in Iraq. 'I'm proud to be a civilian and I'm proud to be a Marine,' he said.  In honor of Memorial Day, Danelo talked to Legacy.com and said that on Memorial Day, he not only remembers his fallen comrades, but goes to visit the graves of those who may have been forgotten. 'There's one cemetery in Philadelphia that has a Civil War veteran who I'll go see. He’s long been forgotten and nobody thinks about him. I just walk around there and pay my respects to (his) memory.'  The 'Flags In' ceremony is another way a lot of soldiers commemorate Memorial Day: placing flags on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery.  'It's kind of an emotional process to know, 'cause I feel connected to each one of these soldiers that served before me. So it's kind of like a brotherhood thing. We just want to take care of our brothers and sisters, make sure they look good,' Pfc. Michael Samuel told USA Today.  But still, at least for wounded retired Army Staff Sgt. Luke Murphy, there is a feeling that civilians could make more of an effort to pay respects to fallen soldiers.  In a CNN op-ed piece Murphy gave an emotional account of losing his friend and fellow service member Sgt. 1st Class Jason Bishop while serving in Iraq.  Murphy wrote, in part, 'When soldiers die, they don't just roll over and quit like in the movies. They fight like hell. ... And sometimes they lose. The biggest loser is the family, though. ... The next biggest losers are the guys who were with the soldier. Many times they've got survivor's guilt. ... So, what do nonfamily members and nonveterans think about on Memorial Day? Sometimes I think they just don't give a damn.' Murphy suggests that people who want to show respect for members of the military make a donation to organizations such as Homes for Our Troops. That's the program that built Murphy and his family a new home that is accessible for someone with his injuries.   So however you choose to spend Memorial Day, whether by the pool or at a parade, try to remember why the holiday exists. 
  • An Oxford, Mississippi, police officer has been charged with the murder of a north Mississippi mother. >> Read more trending news The shooting happened Sunday afternoon in the 1000 block of Suncrest Drive. Officers arrived to the scene to find an “unresponsive person” who was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was identified as Dominique Lashelle Clayton, 32. She was the mother of four, according to neighbors. Friends told WHBQ-TV that Clayton was shot in the back of the head during a domestic situation. Her 8-year-old son found her after being dropped off at the house by a family member on Sunday. Interim Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen said the department learned on Sunday that Matthew Paul Kinne, an Oxford police officer, was possibly 'involved' with Clayton. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation took over the case, and Kinne was developed as a suspect. Dominiques Clayton's sister, Shyjuan, said Kinne and Dominique Clayton had been having an affair. Kinne was arrested Monday night and is being held in the Panola County jail. He is charged with murder. “We will not hide behind our badge,' McCutchen said. 'Dominque was a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a member of our community. This day is about her.” Kinne has been a police officer with the Oxford Police Department for four years.