Keeping up with President Trump's stance on the bipartisan health-care bill that Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) unveiled on Thursday, flanked by 11 Republican and 11 Democratic cosponsors, can be exhausting and frustrating. So Republicans have just started ignoring Trump's opinion, Caitlin Owens reports at Axios, and cracking jokes about Trump's policy inconstancy. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said all 48 members of the Democratic caucus would support the bill, which would give it 60 yes votes if Republicans bring it up for a vote.
But if Trump objects, Republicans see a problem. If.
"Which one's he on now?" Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) asked Owens when she brought up Trump's opinion of the bill. "In this town, at this time, change seems to be the norm," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said when asked about Trump's shifting opinion. "It is what it is. So we just work around it." A GOP lobbyist told Owens: "They just need to pass it during the 5 minutes he is supportive." Alexander and others suggest that the bill faces better odds as part of a year-end package of must-pass legislation rather than as a stand-alone bill.
Alexander-Murray aims to stabilize insurance markets by extending for two years the cost-sharing subsidies that insurers use to lower costs for low-income customers — Trump ended them last week — and makes it easier for states to get waivers on ObamaCare requirements. Peter Weber
On Thursday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced their bipartisan health-care bill, flanked by 11 more Democratic co-sponsors plus 11 more Republican co-sponsors. "I think I might want to get a bipartisan interim deal," Alexander quoted President Trump as saying last weekend; the president and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had come out against the bill Wednesday.
The legislation seeks to stabilize health insurance markets by extending for two years government subsidy payments that insurance companies use to lower costs for poorer customers. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a co-sponsor of a previous GOP health-care bill, said Thursday that he thinks Trump can be convinced to come around, while Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) — who authored the previous bill with Graham — said he would be a co-sponsor on the bipartisan Alexander-Murray bill.
Alexander-Murray’s Republican sponsors:
— Dylan Scott (@dylanlscott) October 19, 2017
.@SenAlexander adds Sens. Isakson and Grassley to cosponsors list - with all Dems that WOULD BE 60.
— julie rovner (@jrovner) October 19, 2017
Axios writes that "the story of the Alexander-Murray bill likely won't be over until December, when Congress has to take care of several must-pass bills, in negotiations where Democrats have a lot of leverage." An initial tally on Thursday, assuming all Democrats would support the measure, indicated the bill could garner the 60 votes it needs to pass the Senate. Jeva Lange