Senate GOP aiming for vote this month on health legislation

Brad McElhinny  MetroNews				Gov. Jim Justice meets with House Democrats to discuss the state budget

Brad McElhinny MetroNews Gov. Jim Justice meets with House Democrats to discuss the state budget

The Republican-led Congress returns to work this week, and once again, the Russian Federation investigation will overshadow the ambitious legislative agenda that includes major overhauls of the health care system and tax code.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could move forward with the House version of the bill without making further changes, Enzi noted in a statement. House GOP leaders say they want to give the state a cushion against their expectations the forecast is too optimistic.

They will be meeting with a president who appears increasingly desperate to deflect attention from the issues hurting his administration - primarily the fallout from an investigation into whether members of his campaign staff colluded with Russian intelligence agencies to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

It's still unclear whether the White House will attempt to assert executive privilege as a way to block Comey's testimony.

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 fired by Trump last month, to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

This plan also allows the House to pass the legislation with the Republican majority, meaning that conservatives could include priorities like funding the president's border wall without being hamstrung by resistance from across the aisle.

Most members wouldn't get into details about what actually is on the table, but they were honest that there are still sticking points here that have to be resolved.

"If the Republicans will set aside this partisan, gun-at-your-head kind of approach, we stand ready, if they're willing to do that, to work cooperatively with them", Oregon Sen.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who has been attending the working group meetings, said Sunday in a radio interview that tax reform would be an "easier lift" than health care - and cast doubt on whether a comprehensive health care bill was within reach.

It is less simple on Capitol Hill, where political novice Trump has endured a rough education in Washington dealmaking since taking office in January. Congress has started hearings on next year's budget, but no one knows how much money there will be to spend at this point. I've always believed, let Obamacare collapse, which it will and challenge the Democrats to help us fix it.

"We talked more in terms of the goals". The plan is to graft the bill to a budget reconciliation measure modifying the 2018 federal budget. McConnell told Reuters late last month he did not yet know how to amass the votes needed to pass a bill on healthcare.

"Hopefully Republican Senators, good people all, can quickly get together and pass a new (repeal & replace) HEALTHCARE bill", Trump tweeted Wednesday, in a more-than-gentle nudge.

Despite deep divisions over how to pay for a major tax bill or which tax cuts would be retained and which would be phased out, Ryan insisted last week that Congress was on track to get a bill to the President's desk "by the end of the calendar year 2017". Trump meanwhile signaled Thursday that tax reform is "moving along in Congress" and doing "very well". In the House bill, tax credits are based primarily on age. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been critical of the proposal.

Congress might then turn its focus to overhauling the tax code in September. That timetable surprised GOP leaders who thought they wouldn't need to address the thorny issue until the fall. "Whether we'll be able to get consensus on the whole, we'll see", said Sen.

Lawmakers must also come up with a plan to raise the country's debt limit.

The House spending plan sought to leave $206 million unspent in the financial year that begins July 1, even though the state income forecast predicts the dollars will be available.

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.

Republican aides say privately they are working within the general framework of the House bill, but considering significant changes. Otherwise, they would likely face persistent pressure from Trump to find a compromise, which would risk bogging down the rest of their legislative agenda.

Trump said insurers are "fleeing and leaving" the markets.

Latest News