While much of the attention is focused on President Donald Trump’s pick to sit on the high court, the policy world continues to churn. Health care insurers are clearly concerned they won’t have clarity on the fate of Obmacare in time to make a decision on 2018. The border adjustment tax, which could be used as an alternative to Trump’s tariff idea, may not be able to get through the Senate. And fallout from the travel ban continues to impact the business world.
ACTION PRESIDENT TRUMP TOOK TODAY…
EXECUTIVE ACTIONS — None today.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW ON DAY 13…
Republicans voted to suspend committee rules, allowing them to advance Tom Price’s nomination for Health and Human Services secretary without a Democrat present at the hastily-called hearing. The vote now heads to the full Senate.
Insurers warned a congressional subcommittee Wednesday morning that Congress needs to continue Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies and provide clarity on premium subsidies in the “next 30 days” so insurers can make a decision on 2018.
Sen. Orrin Hatch said he wants Obamacare taxes fully repealed rather than leave some of them in place to fund a replacement.
Sen. Lamar Alexander continues to say replacement will be a slow process. Rep. Greg Walden also talked about a “fix” or “repair,” rather than replacement.
TAXES — In that same speech, Hatch toed the line on the border adjustment tax being considered in the House. Hatch didn’t say he’s against it, but did warn that he may not be able to get it through the Senate.
Trump tweeted on the travel ban this morning, saying “call it what you want.”
Apple is a considering legal action over the ban.
The travel ban hit home hard in Dearborn, Michigan where the Arab population is 30%. And Ford’s CEO was the only US auto leader to speak out.
Nearly 1,000 Yemeni bodega owners in New York City are planning to shut down for eight hours on Thursday in protest of Trump’s travel ban.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe claims the commonwealth already lost two deals with overseas companies looking to relocate, due to the travel ban. “They didn’t lose interest. They’re scared,” McAuliffe said.
TRADE/ENERGY/INFRASTRUCTURE — Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told fellow lawmakers Wednesday that his February 10 meeting with Trump should be about more than trade.
INFRASTRUCTURE — The Washington Post wraps Wednesday’s House Transportation Committee hearing, noting that FedEx’s CEO expressed support for increasing the gas tax and that committee chair Rep. Bill Shuster said he thinks a tax reform bill has to happen before an infrastructure bill.
The Wall Street Journal reports on Saudi Arabia’s oil minister praising Trump’s fossil fuel friendly policies.
Ten Democratic senators boycotted — and in turn delayed — the vote for Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
THURSDAY — OBAMACARE — House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee holds a hearing on pre-existing condition coverage and other reform ideas. Also, Medicare Advantage payment rates and policies for 2018 are released.
THURSDAY — TAX CUTS — Senate Budget Committee set to vote on Mick Mulvaney’s nomination to be OMB director — he also needs confirmation from Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Sen. McCain has repeatedly suggested he could vote no.
FRIDAY — TAX CUTS — House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Kevin Brady gives a speech on tax reform to a forum at Georgetown University’s law school.