In Early GOP Win on Health Care Repeal, Congress OKs Budget | NBC New York
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

In Early GOP Win on Health Care Repeal, Congress OKs Budget

"The 'Unaffordable' Care Act will soon be history!" Donald Trump tweeted Friday

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Can the GOP improve on Obamacare? Sam Richardson, health economist at Boston College, joins Sue O'Connell on the Take. (Published Friday, Jan. 13, 2017)

    Ascendant Republicans drove a budget through Congress on Friday that gives them an early but critical victory in their crusade to scrap President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

    The vote trains the spotlight on whether they and Donald Trump can deliver on repeated pledges to not just erase that statute but replace it.

    Demonstrating the GOP's willingness to plunge into a defining but risky battle, the House used a near party-line 227-198 roll call to approve a budget that prevents Senate Democrats from derailing a future bill, thus far unwritten, annulling and reshaping Obama's landmark 2010 law. The budget, which won Senate approval early Thursday, does not need the president's signature.

    "The 'Unaffordable' Care Act will soon be history!" Trump tweeted Friday in a dig at the statute's name, the Affordable Care Act. Trump takes the presidential oath next Friday.

    But the real work looms in coming months as the new administration and congressional Republicans write binding legislation to erase much of the health care law and replace it with a GOP version. Republicans still have internal divisions over what that would look like, though past GOP proposals have cut much of the existing law's federal spending and eased coverage requirements while relying more on tax benefits and letting states make decisions.

    Friday's final vote was preceded by debate that saw hyperbole on both sides and underscored how the two parties have alternate-universe views of Obama's overhaul. Democrats praised it for extending coverage to tens of millions of Americans, helping families afford policies and seniors buy prescriptions, while Republicans focused on the rising premiums and deductibles and limited access to doctors and insurers that have plagued many.

    Flight Attendant's Behavior Questioned Following Altercation

    [NATL-BAY] Flight Attendant's Behavior Questioned Following Altercation

    One day after an American Airlines flight attendant became entangled in an altercation with passengers, his employer is investigating whether or not he was out of line. Thom Jensen reports.

    (Published Sunday, April 23, 2017)

    House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the health care law was "so arrogant and so contrary to our founding principles" and had not delivered on Obama's promises to lower costs and provide more choice.

    "We have to step in before things get worse. This is nothing short of a rescue mission," Ryan said.

    "Our experimentation in Soviet-style central planning of our health care system has been an abject failure," said freshman Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Ryan was peddling "mythology" and said the GOP was moving toward making things worse for health care consumers.

    Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    [NATL] Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    When you think of a drive-thru, fast food probably comes to mind. But what about marijuana? Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru in Parachute, Colorado, is the first of its kind. After nearly a year of preparation, the drive-thru pot shop opened for business on 4/20. 

    "Their timing couldn't have been better in my opinion, I mean everybody wants to celebrate," said Kyle Steele, a customer at the drive-thru.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    "They want to cut benefits and run. They want to cut access and run," she said of Republicans.

    "This is a sad day in the history of this country as Republicans begin the process of destroying health care in America," said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who said the GOP has no replacement in hand.

    "All you have is smoke and mirrors, and the American people are getting ready to get screwed," he said.

    Approval of the budget means Senate Democrats won't be allowed to filibuster the future repeal-and-replace bill — a pivotal advantage for Republicans. They control the Senate 52-48, but it takes 60 votes to end filibusters, which are endless procedural delays that can scuttle legislation.

    Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    [NATL] Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    Just before midnight Thursday, Arkansas announced it had executed death row inmate Ledell Lee. He is the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire. A protester and a spokesperson for the governor reacted to the controversial execution.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    Congressional Republicans have made annulling Obama's law and replacing it a top goal for the past seven years. GOP rifts and an Obama veto prevented them from achieving anything other than holding scores of votes that served as political messaging.

    Trump also made targeting Obama's statute a primary target during his campaign. At his news conference Wednesday, Trump — who's supplied few details of what he wants — said his emerging plan will be "far less expensive and far better" than the statute.

    Despite their conceptual unity, plenty of Republicans have shown skittishness in recent days about the political repercussions of charging into a battle that, with Trump in the White House, puts enacting new laws within reach.

    Many congressional Republicans expressed opposition to leaders' initial emphasis on first passing a repeal bill and then focusing on a replacement — a process that could produce a gap of months or longer. Trump has also pushed Congress to act fast.

    Bill O'Reilly Ousted At Fox News Channel

    [NATL] Bill O'Reilly Ousted At Fox News Channel

    Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was officially pushed out at the network. This comes after O'Reilly had paid out more than $13 million to five different women over allegations of sexual harassment. In a statement, 21st Century Fox said, "After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel." O'Reilly has denied any wrongdoing.

    (Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017)

    Twenty million Americans are covered by Obama's expansion of Medicaid or by policies sold on exchanges, and millions of others have benefited from the coverage requirements It has imposed on insurers. Many Republicans have insisted on learning how their party will re-craft the nation's $3 trillion-a-year health care system before voting to void existing programs.

    There are internal GOP chasms over Republican leaders' plans to use their bill to halt federal payments to Planned Parenthood and pare Medicaid coverage. There are also disagreements over how to pay for the GOP replacement, with many Republicans leery of Ryan's proposal to tax part of the value of some health insurance provided by employers.

    Even with their disputes, the GOP's rallying behind their budget spotlighted the political imperative facing Republicans to deliver on a battle cry that has sustained them for years.

    Moving ahead on the budget was "a bottom-line, party survival vote," said Thomas P. Miller, a health care authority at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. 

    Columbia Student Opens Restaurant in Dorm Room

    [NY-NATL] Columbia Student Opens Restaurant in Dorm Room

    Pith, a small bistro created by Columbia senior Jonah Reider and run out of his dorm room's communal kitchen, is the hottest restaurant in town after opening just two weeks ago. John Chandler reports.

    (Published Thursday, April 20, 2017)