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Senate

GOP Senate Health Care Bill

Jun 28, 2017
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has put the brakes on a planned vote on the Senate overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. Legislative budget analysts have predicted that the measure would leave 22 million people without healthcare coverage. In Ohio, the issues of mental health care and addiction treatment are key. 

Updated at 6 p.m. ET June 23

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller on Friday became the latest GOP lawmaker to voice concerns about the Senate health care bill — a development that further complicates Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

"I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans," Heller said at a news conference back in Nevada.

Updated at 2:32 p.m. ET

Senate Republicans unveiled their long-awaited health care overhaul proposal on Thursday. The Senate bill, called the "Better Care Reconciliation Act," would repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The broad outlines of it look a lot like the House bill, the American Health Care Act, which was passed in May.

Dozens of Democrats joined Republicans in the Senate to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as the next secretary of agriculture.

The vote was 87-11. Perdue's cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., voted "present" and presided over the vote.

Sonny Perdue grew up on a farm in central Georgia and has owned several agriculture companies. He is not associated with the food company Perdue or the poultry producer Perdue Farms.

NPR's Geoff Bennett reports for our Newscast unit:

This is how the Senate changes — not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.

By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice," said McConnell in a closing floor speech.

Thursday is the day the judicial filibuster in the Senate is scheduled to die. There hasn't been much of an effort to save it, but there have been a lot of lamentations for the slow demise of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body (WGDB), otherwise known as the U.S. Senate.

Here are five insights into what the death of the judicial filibuster means:

1. The winners and losers

The U.S. Senate could make history this week, but no one is feeling particularly good about it.

"It is depressing; I'm very depressed," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "We're all arguing against it, but we don't know any other option."

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the GOP blockade against Merrick Garland before him are forcing another showdown over whether to invoke the "nuclear option" and change the rules of the Senate to make it easier for a president to get all of his nominations approved.

Senate Democrats held an all-night session Monday night into Tuesday morning in a last-ditch effort to try to stop President Trump's nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, from being confirmed.

Among those who took to the floor was Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who said it was "difficult to imagine a worse choice to head the Department of Education."

Of all President Trump's Cabinet choices, only one currently seems at serious risk of being denied confirmation by the Senate.

The confirmation of Betsy DeVos as education secretary is a question mark after two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, announced they plan to vote against her.

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET

A day after Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted votes to advance the nominations for President Trump's nominees to lead the departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, the panel's Republicans met in a surprise meeting Wednesday morning and voted to suspend committee rules to vote on those nominees without Democrats present.

When House and Senate Democrats held a rally Monday night to oppose President Trump's executive order on refugees and immigrants, the crowd wasn't all on their side.

Pockets of, "Do your job!" jeers broke out, as did chants of "Walk the walk."

Democrats don't have too many opportunities to set the agenda in Congress right now. They don't decide what bills are called for a vote, and, due to changes in Senate procedures, won't be able to block any of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet picks without Republican defections.

One thing Democrats can affect are the headlines coming out of the first wave of confirmation hearings.

The week before Donald Trump takes the oath of office will set the stage for his entry into the Oval Office. Not only will at least nine of his Cabinet nominees begin their Senate confirmation hearings, but the president-elect himself will face reporters at a long-awaited press conference, where he may address how he plans to separate his business interests from his presidency.

On top of that, President Obama steps into the spotlight one last time, on Tuesday evening in Chicago, for a farewell address in which he's likely to frame his legacy.

Sen. Rob Portman Wins Reelection Over Ted Strickland

Nov 8, 2016
Rob Portman
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Ohio Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman has won re-election over Democratic former Gov. Ted Strickland in a race Democrats once considered a good opportunity to pick up a Senate seat.

Senate Panel OKs Tougher Prison Terms For Ohio Gun Crimes

Apr 22, 2015
Flickr / Creative Commons

Ohioans who repeatedly use guns to commit crimes could face tougher penalties under a new proposed law.

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