Washington Update for the Week Ending March 3, 2017

NCPA will hold its first health reform briefing of the year on Capitol Hill on March 15. NCPA experts will explain our 12 fundamentals of health reform, particularly the benefits of changing tax policy to help people buy health insurance. We will also provide cost estimates for doing health reform the right way.  If you are in the D.C. area on March 15, let us know and we’ll make sure you are invited to the briefing.

Here’s a summary of what’s going on in Washington this week:

  • The President delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress this week. He outlined most of his policy priorities pertaining to national security, health reform, immigration enforcement, economic growth and job creation. Many of the President’s priorities are consistent with the NCPA’s strategic agenda, and we look forward to aligning our efforts to liberate the power of free markets to strengthen the economy. Where our approaches differ, we look forward to educating the Administration on our ideas to solve public policy problems.
  • The President also met with most of the nation’s governors this week, where he stressed many of the same themes outlined in his address to Congress.
  • The Republican leadership has a draft health reform plan…but only a few people are allowed to see it. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) staged a clever PR stunt as he searched high and low around Capitol Hill for the mystery legislation. A few days ago, Politico published a leaked legislative draft that would repeal the individual mandate, eliminate the Obamacare taxes, roll back Medicaid expansion, create state-based high risk pools, and provide tax relief to purchase health insurance. Stay tuned as this issue accelerates next week.
  • The Senate confirmed Ryan Zinke as the new Secretary of Interior. On his first day, he rode a horse to work. The Senate also confirmed Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy and Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Here’s an interesting bit of trivia: After voting for Carson in committee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren flipped her vote to oppose him on the Senate floor.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he will recuse himself from any investigations related to the presidential campaign, particularly any investigations pertaining to Russia. This came after a big kerfuffle over whether he met with the Russian ambassador last year. But there is plenty of hypocrisy going around, as it turns out that Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Claire McCaskill and others also met with Russian officials. There are a lot of ambassadors wandering around Washington, D.C., and they like to meet with lawmakers.

Brian Williams is the NCPA’s Legislative Director.

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