TPM News

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has lowered his expectations for confirmation votes in the Senate on Inauguration Day, blaming Democrats for slowing down the process.

McConnell had initially set the goal of confirming six or seven nominees on the same day as Donald Trump's swearing in, but he told USA Today on Wednesday that the Senate will likely vote on just three nominees on Inauguration Day. The Senate confirmed seven nominees on the day of President Obama's inauguration in 2009.

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Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry did not realize exactly what the position of energy secretary entails when he accepted Donald Trump's offer to lead the department, the New York Times reported Wednesday evening.

Perry was prepared to represent the American energy sector abroad and did not understand that he would be charged with overseeing the United States' nuclear arsenal, according to the New York Times.

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For years Republican critiques of the Affordable Care Act have zeroed in on the effect it has had on the individual heath insurance market. But the GOP lawmaker who will likely lead the Department of Health and Human Services has long championed a major overhaul to the much bigger employer-based insurance system in order to push consumers to buy their own plans.

The legislation HHS nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has offered over the years include mainstays of GOP plans that would usher in a drastic change in how most people receive their health care coverage. The employer-based insurance market covers seven times more people than the individual market.

"What he's getting at here, and a lot of Republicans feel pretty strongly about this, to get a functioning insurance market, you have to get away from businesses buying the insurance," explained Joe Antos, a health policy scholar at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. "The philosophy is, ultimately, you want to transition, in some orderly way, to where everybody is buying their own insurance."

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