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Congress

The House Intelligence Committee's investigation into the Trump campaign's potential connections to Russia's election meddling isn't dead — but it's not exactly dancing a jig, either.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

House Republicans scrapped a vote on their health care replacement plan on Friday after defections from both the right and center that made it clear the bill would not pass.

"Obamacare is the law of the land. It is going to remain the law of the land," House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted shortly after he pulled the bill. "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it's going to take us to replace this law."

A last-minute attempt by conservative Republicans to dump standards for health benefits in plans sold to individuals would probably lower the average person's upfront insurance costs, such as premiums and deductibles, say analysts on both sides of the debate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

But it will very likely also induce insurers to offer much skimpier plans, potentially excluding the gravely ill and putting consumers at greater financial risk if they need care.

Updated at 9:48 p.m. ET

The White House issued an ultimatum to House Republicans on Thursday: Vote for the current GOP health care replacement plan or leave the Affordable Care Act in place and suffer the political consequences.

Updated at 7:12 p.m. ET

Explosive accusations and countercharges on Wednesday threatened to derail one of Congress' investigations into the potential connections between President Trump's 2016 campaign aides and Russia's meddling in the election.

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, announced that he had learned that then-President-elect Donald Trump and some of his staff had been caught up in U.S. surveillance of foreign targets overseas in the months after the election.

PBS

President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court continues his third, and likely last, day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After a day of statements, Tuesday's Supreme Court confirmation hearing was all about answers. Judge Neil Gorsuch was careful in his responses to Senate Judiciary Committee members, but there were still a number of insights that marked the day. Read our full Day 2 coverage here. These are five highlights:

At an hours-long public hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he pushed back against President Trump's allegations that he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama.

At his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Neil Gorsuch pitched himself as a reasonable jurist who would do his best to uphold the rule of law without any bias.

"Sitting here, I am acutely aware of my own imperfections," the federal appeals court judge told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. "But I pledge to each of you and to the American people that, if confirmed, I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of our great nation."

Paul Morigi / Brookings Institute

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has been investigating Russian attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election. Watch the open hearing and follow live coverage.

Donald Trump likes to move fast.

But to this point, for all the bravado, executive actions and tweets, much of Trump's presidency has been showy without a lot of practical effect. For that to change, much could depend on the next three weeks. This critical phase could set his ambitious agenda on course or derail it.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

The House has approved legislation that would make it harder to keep veterans who are "mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent" or prone to blackouts from buying guns. Critics of the bill say it could raise the suicide rate among veterans — a rate that has risen in the past decade.

At least a dozen Democrats joined Republicans to support the bill, which was approved by a 240-175 vote.

A new report finds that the Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over a decade but would also leave 24 million more Americans uninsured during that same period.

Got questions about the GOP plan to overhaul federal health law? Join us on Twitter Thursday 12-1 p.m. ET for our #ACAchat. Kaiser's Julie Rovner, NPR's Alison Kodjak and health policy analysts of various political persuasions will be online discussing how the Republican plan could work, who wins and who loses. See you there!

After literally years of promises, House Republicans have a bill they say will "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Some of the most conservative members of the House are at a crossroads over the plan from GOP leadership and the White House to replace the Affordable Care Act. Those lawmakers say their choice is between supporting a bill that goes against many of their principles, or falling in line behind President Trump — who won overwhelming support in their district.

We tracked the action on Capitol Hill Wednesday as two House committees — Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce, reviewed and amended the American Health Care Act. (It's the GOP plan to replace The Affordable Care Act.) Check in with us Thursday for more on the health law overhaul, including a live Tweetchat answering questions about the overhaul proposal, #ACAchat, from 12-1 pm ET.

House Speaker Paul Ryan from Wisconsin has been complaining about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) for so long that his list of grievances sounds like a refrain of some pop song.

"Obamacare is collapsing," he said on Feb. 28. "The Democrats got too far ahead on their ideology and they gave us a system where government runs health care. They gave us a system where costs went up, not down. They gave us a system where choices went away. They gave us a system where people lost the plans they liked, they chose."

Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons

Connecticut's congressional delegation joined the call for action over allegations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied during testimony in his confirmation hearings.

Updated at 4:56 p.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he will recuse himself from any investigations into possible Russian involvement in the 2016 elections.

"Let me be clear: I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign," Sessions reiterated during an afternoon news conference in response to reports that he had met twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. last year.

"I should not be involved in investigating a campaign I had a role in," Sessions said.

President Trump is receiving plaudits for his first joint address to Congress.

The White House certainly thinks it went well — so much so, it was reported that the White House is holding its revised travel ban, in part, to bask in the glow of the positive reviews.

Snap polls after the speech showed that people who watched it largely liked it.

President Trump pushed the reset button after a rocky first month in office, delivering an on-message joint address to Congress that outlined his vision for America.

"I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart," Trump said at the outset, declaring that "the torch of truth, liberty and justice ... is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world."

MichaelDaugherty.net

Sixty-two-year-old Michael Daugherty is a well-known and well-decorated contemporary American composer -- recognized for such works as his Grammy Award-winning Metropolis Symphony and 2015 cello concerto Tales of Hemingway

Mark Dixon / Creative Commons

Republicans in Congress said little when Donald Trump's ban on immigrants led to chaos, they ignored widespread protest against his cabinet picks, and they still fail to call out statements that are untrue. Save for a scattered voice of dissent in Republican ranks, the GOP seems unruffled by Donald Trump's behavior as president - except when it comes to Russia. John McCain is turning into Trump's fiercest critic where most others fear to tread. Is this his moment to be a hero?

Ron Cogswell / Creative Commons

Want to know how the 12 U.S. Senators from New England are voting on President Donald Trump's nominees? Look no further.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Republicans in Congress are mulling an obscure rule change that could threaten Connecticut's newly established, state-sponsored retirement savings plan. 

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