In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Wednesday is shaping up to be a blockbuster day in political news, with Senate confirmation hearings scheduled for six of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees in addition to the President-elect holding his first press conference since July in midtown Manhattan.

That stacked schedule has some senior Democrats crying foul. They argue that, with the attention of the public and the political press divided between cities and hearings, Republicans will have an easier time forcing through some of the President-elect’s more controversial appointees.

Read More →

Lost in the public outcry over an ultimately failed proposal to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, House Republicans this week approved the reinstatement of an esoteric rule that could have a deeply chilling effect on the federal workforce.

The Holman Rule, passed Tuesday as part of the broader rules package for the 115th Congress, allows individual lawmakers to propose amendments to appropriations bills that request the termination of any government program or the reduction of the annual salary of individual federal employees to as low as $1.

A majority of the House and Senate would still need to approve any such amendment, but the lawmaker behind the resuscitation of the arcane rule said he fully expects it to be put to use.

Read More →

Only one in five Americans agrees with the current Republican plan of repealing Obamacare without the details of a replacement being worked about, a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found. But the poll found a narrow divide among respondents on the question of whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

According to the survey released Friday, 47 percent of respondents said lawmakers should not vote on a repeal, 28 percent would prefer that a repeal vote wait until the details of a replacement planned are announced, and 20 percent would like to see a repeal vote immediately with replacement details worked out later.

Read More →

One Republican senator says he's fed up with the Antiquities Act following President Barack Obama's designation last month of two more national monuments in Western states.

The century-old law gives presidents the the power to designate land as a national monument through executive action. Obama's use of the law has won him praise from environmental groups, but also has drawn the ire of Republicans in Western states who view the President's action through the prism of a land grab.

"You know I understand why Teddy Roosevelt had this in place and it seems to me that recently presidents have gone way beyond the original intent," Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) told TPM on Thursday. "At some point you you say 'enough' and I'm at that point right now."

Read More →

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) promised Thursday that a replacement for the Affordable Care Act will be legislated this year, although he made no commitment about when the law would be implemented.

In response to a question about whether Ryan could commit that repealing and replacing Obamacare would be finished by the end of the 115th Congress, Ryan said the "legislating will occur this year."

"Our legislating on Obamacare, our repealing and replacing and transitioning, the legislating, will occur this year," Ryan said. "What date all of this gets phased in something we do not now know."

Ryan said Thursday that Republicans need to wait for the Trump administration to be fully confirmed. And he said members want to be careful to give insurance companies time to adjust to a new program. Republicans have previously floated the idea of a two- to four-year transition between Obamacare and Republicans' alternative – a strategy that has been nicknamed repeal and delay.

Read More →