US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan announced on Wednesday that he will not run for re-election this year, a decision that significantly impacts the Republicans’ hold on the House. Ryan was one of almost 30 Republicans who announced their retirement at a time when Democrats need 23 seats to control the House.
Stephen Wynn, finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, stepped down from his post after being accused of sexual misconduct by his casino employees. After a report in Friday’s Wall Street Journal detailing years of sexual misconduct and abuse, Wynn faced pressure to step aside. Wynn said he resigned to eliminate a ‘distraction’ for Republicans.
The longest-serving Senate Republican, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, announced Tuesday, his plan to retire at the end of the year, despite President Trump’s pleas that he seek an eighth term. Hatch’s retirement will clear the path for Mitt Romney, a critic of Trump with a large political network, to run for the seat.
The long-awaited Senate healthcare bill became public on Thursday. The draft repeals Affordable Care Act taxes and provides more subsidies for low-income families than the House bill which was passed in May. Despite the updates to the bill, four conservative senators, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Ron Johnson, announced that they would still oppose the bill. They said the bill, in its current form, does not bring healthcare costs down and repeal Obamacare.
On Wednesday morning, an anti-Trump gunman, 66 year old James Hodgkinson, opened fire at the Republican congressional baseball team at a practice field in Alexandria, Virginia, shooting 4 men, including lawmaker, Steve Scalise, a majority whip of the House of Representatives. Donald Trump issued a statement condemning the “very, very brutal assault” and then saying that Hodgkinson was killed after a shootout with police. Scalise has undergone surgery and is still in critical condition.
The healthcare plan Senate Republicans have been working on in secret will be released on Thursday. There isn’t much information on what exactly the plan is. However, it is expected to be a version based on the current law and a bill passed by the House in May. Republicans can only afford to lose two of the 52 seats they hold in the Senate to pass the bill.
Republican Karen Handel defeated Jon Ossoff last night with over 11,000 votes more than Ossoff at the closely watched special congressional election in Georgia’s 6th District. The win for Handel is a big setback for Democrats who were hoping to capitalize on Trump’s low approval rating to win a Republican seat. Georgia’s special election goes into the records as the most expensive House race in U.S. history.
Health-care legislation adopted by House Republicans earlier this month would leave 23 million more Americans uninsured by 2026 than under current law, the Congressional Budget Office projected Wednesday only a million fewer than the estimate for the Houses previous bill. That represents a smaller reduction than the $150 billion CBO estimated in late March, largely because House leaders provided more money in their final bill to offset costs for consumers with expensive medical conditions and included language that could translate to greater federal spending on health insurance subsidies. Some senators are eager to soften portions of the House bill, including cuts to entitlement programs and provisions that would allow insurers in individual states to offer fewer benefits in their health plans or to charge consumers with costly medical conditions higher premiums.
Lacking the needed votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans have delayed the vote on the new Health Care bill until after July 4. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted that the bill doesn’t have the support it needs to pass. Regarding health care, he said, “It is a very complicated subject”. At least six Republicans oppose the bill so far. Without support from the Democrats, the Republicans can only afford to lose 2 votes to pass the bill.
The shooter who opened fire on a congressional baseball team in Virginia last week was found to have had a storage locker with over 200 rounds of ammunition that he visited daily. He has fired 60 rounds with two firearms and had a list of six members of Congress when he carried out the attack. It has been confirmed that the gunman worked alone and found no connection to any terrorist groups.