John Kelly follows orders. That’s exactly what Trump critics are afraid of.


The Senate voted to open debate on health care. Now what?

UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, talks with reporters in the senate subway before the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on July 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate voted to open debate on a health care bill Tuesday. But many lawmakers, like Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, aren’t sure whether they’ll support the bill. Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call.

On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to break a 50-50 tie vote in the Senate, allowing debate on health care reform to move forward.

Now what happens?

Here’s how the week will play out, according to lawmakers we spoke with on the Hill. (All of this, of course, with the caution that this is a highly fluid, if not unstable, legislative situation).


The Senate will return to the House-passed bill, The American Health Care Act or ACHA. You can read the CBO’s full assessment of the legislation here.


There will be some early motions for amendments:

  • Lawmakers will put forward some version of the Senate-passed bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Which of those versions depends on a secondary vote, which would seek to amend THAT bill with plans from Sens. Ted Cruz and Rob Portman on market regulation and Medicaid, respectively. (An amendment would likely be hybrid of those plans, incorporating the Cruz amendments and adding more money for states to stabilize their health insurance markets).
  • Several lawmakers are also expected to put forward a straight repeal.

Both amendments are expected to fail.


There will be scores – possibly hundreds – of amendments to the bill. Any senator can offer one. A flurry of votes known on Capitol Hill as a voterama will be the last step before final passage and could last many hours or a even a whole day. Note: Debate is not required on amendments, though Republicans may allow it if they choose.

READ MORE: Suspense, taunts and cheers as the Senate health care debate moves forward


  • Most amendments will require 60 votes. This is because most amendments will not have a CBO score yet. Without a score, any senator can raise a point of order against an amendment. It takes 60 votes to override such a point of order. This will potentially apply to the big amendments, like the BCRA/Cruz amendment and the straight repeal (depending on how lawmakers do that).
  • Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told some of us Tuesday that he is hoping for scores on most amendments, but in truth, it seems most amendments will not get scores.
  • This is a key issue, particularly for the skinny, or partial, repeal, which among other things would get rid of penalties both for individuals who choose to go without insurance and companies who choose not to offer it. Senators will need to put forward amendments that can pass the Byrd rule and be scored.


  • The motion to start debate requires 20 hours of debate on the underlying bill.
  • Democrats can waive that if they choose – or they can add to it (as I suspect they will do), requiring things like the bill being read out loud in its entirety. Such procedural motions do not count for debate time.

WATCH: Senate has ‘become more partisan, more tribal than at any time I can remember,’ McCain says


  • It is going to be a long week, likely with overnight sessions.
  • It’s utterly unclear how the GOP will craft a bill that can get 50 votes. But these next two to three days are their chance.
  • Twitter, we suspect, will have a very good week.

The post The Senate voted to open debate on health care. Now what? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

Why These Religious Leaders Are Standing With Planned Parenthood

Christian and Jewish clergy members have been part of the movement for reproductive rights for decades. Religious denominations, such as the Anglican Communion, the United Church of Christ,and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), havepassed resolutionssupporting birth control.And during the 1960s, religious leaders were actually a driving force in the movement to legalize abortion in the United States.

Today, this history of activism has largely been overshadowed by prominent voices on the religious right, who promote the idea that it is impossible to be both religious and pro-abortion rights.

And now, Republicans in Congress are moving forward with plans to block Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood. If they succeed, the Government Accountability Office estimates390,000 low-income womencould lose access to the abortion care, cancer screenings, STI testing, and other preventative services Planned Parenthood provides.

But progressive clergy members are determined to reclaim the narrative around faith and reproductive rights.

In a new video released by Planned Parenthood, several clergy members spoke up about why their faith compels them to support the organization’s work.

As a person of faith I believe that everybody should have access to health care, Rev. Timothy McDonald, III, Senior Pastor of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, said in the video. When people of faith speak up for reproductive justice, compassion becomes the order of the day.

People need more access to health care, more access to contraception, more access to education,all the services that Planned Parenthood provides, said Rabbi Lori Koffman of New York City’s Central Synagogue. Everything about what Planned Parenthood does really speaks in my mind to Jewish religious ethical values.

Together, these leaders, and the many other progressive religious voices who support Planned Parenthood’s work, are proving that there’s more than one way to be a person of faith.

Rev. Darcy Roake,a Unitarian Universalist Minister who serves on Planned Parenthood’s Clergy Advocacy Board, summed it up this way: The idea that there is just one monopoly on a religious voice, that is not true, that has never been true and that will never be true.

Watch the video from Planned Parenthood above.

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