Critical week: Russian Federation probe tops to-do list for Congress

Republicans have sought to overturn Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic healthcare law since it was enacted in 2010.Whatever the White House’s efforts to push ahead with policy plans, there will be a spotlight on testimony by James Comey, the FBI director fired by Trump last month, to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.Senators will question Comey on whether Trump tried to get him to back off an FBI investigation into ties between the president’s 2016 campaign and Russian Federation, an attempt that critics have said could constitute obstruction of justice.Senator Ron Wyden of OR, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, on Tuesday called the House bill “Robin Hood in reverse” and said it “moves America back to yesteryear, when health care was for the healthy and the wealthy”.”I just don’t think we put it together among ourselves”, Graham told reporters Monday night.Perhaps Republicans believe those people don’t deserve health care.Therefore, Republicans are planning to hold a closed-door lunch today in which GOP leaders, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will present senators with several options for what the bill could look like, according to The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of SC declaring over the last several days that they don’t even see Senate Republicans passing a health care bill by the end of the year.A number of Senate Republicans have expressed doubt in the last week about whether the Senate can pass health-care legislation this year, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.Whatever the White House’s efforts to push ahead with policy plans, there will be a spotlight on testimony by James Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director Trump fired last month, to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. “The last statewide insurer in the great state of OH is leaving”, Trump said. Trump denies any collusion with Russian Federation, and has called the investigation a “witch hunt”.The Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to oversee its probe into the Russian Federation issue and several congressional panels also are investigating the matter.Trump is pushing Congress to act on his legislative priorities, including health care and tax reform. Conservatives, on the other hand, have been clear they would like for states to opt in to core Obamacare regulations rather than opt out of them like the House health care bill suggested. They have been talking openly to the news media about trying to pass a bill before midsummer 2017 – and if the events of the year so far are any guide, the argument potentially could be made with any upcoming legislation that they are doing it in the shadow of whatever is in the news at any given time.He appeared to make some progress on Tuesday.They also discussed plans to stabilize insurance markets, according to the Associated Press.While GOP Senators wait on the parliamentarian’s decision they are busy working out alternative solutions if the decision doesn’t go their way. “States would have the ability, a lot more power than they do under Obamacare, to shape their future, and I think we’ve got to return the power to the states”.The CBPP analysis also found that changes in the House bill would increase Medicaid out-of-pocket costs, making it hard for those over 60 years old and poor to afford coverage.Congress might then turn its focus to overhauling the tax code in September.The Trump administration has outlined a broad plan that would cut tax rates for businesses and streamline the tax system for individuals. But Trump’s party wants to move on other items in their agenda.The House GOP bill would permit states to opt out of both provisions, sparking harsh criticism that Republicans are backtracking on their promise to protect people with pre-existing conditions.