Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, announced Tuesday that he would cut the chamber’s August recess in half so that the GOP could have more time to achieve its legislative goals. This has become essential since the negotiations over health-care legislation has been protracted and opposed by Democrats.
“To provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,” said McConnell (R-Ky.).
McConnell’s announcement will give Republicans time to move to other matters like raising the federal debt ceiling, after finishing with a health-care vote. “The debt ceiling must be raised,” McConnell told reporters.
The GOP leadership is still tweaking their health-care bill so that they can get votes from both conservatives and moderates. McConnell is ready now to preserve two of Obamacare’s existing taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 annually and couples making more than $250,000. One of the taxes is a 3.8% tax on investment income and the other is a 0.9% tax on wages and self-employment income. This will enable the government to move more money to a stabilization fund that could off-set consumer’s costs.
Senator Ted Cruz is still trying to steer the bill to the right. His proposal would allow insurers to offer plans that do not meet market requirements under the present healthcare system. This would lower premiums but eliminate some younger, healthier consumers. Some charge it would ultimately destabilize the market.
Many leaders are still waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to produce an analysis of the impact the Cruz amendment. There is significant thought that the outcome will be devastating to the overall savings in the bill. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO director, said it appears that Cruz’s amendment would send all of the young, healthy people who are cheaper to cover into one insurance pool — and leave sicker, older people “in a glorified high-risk pool.” “It would be expensive and possibly not particularly stable,” Holtz-Eakin said in an interview. “If the public-policy goal is to give people access to affordable insurance options, there’s a set of people who would just not have access to that.”
Do you think McConnell cutting the Senate recess by half is the right thing to do? Do you think it will be productive?
Credit: The Washington Post