Today in the Morning Line:
- House’s first month has focused on base issues without much chance of getting to the president
- Why another Obamacare vote? Freshmen want to say they voted against it
- Law remains unpopular, but people like the subsidies
- Attorney General nominee faces confirmation hearing
One more time: Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, who is in a Pennsylvania district Mitt Romney won in 2012 just 51 to 48 percent, last week lamented the kinds of issues House Republicans have been taking up so far in this new 114th Congress. In his words:
“Week one, we had a Speaker election that didn’t go as well as a lot of us would have liked. Week two, we spent a lot of time talking about deporting children, a conversation a lot of us didn’t want to have. Week three, we’re debating reportable rape and incest — again, not an issue a lot of us wanted to have a conversation about. I just can’t wait for week four.”
So what about Week Four? It will be about (drum roll) repealing Obamacare. House Republicans, leadership aides confirm, will move forward with a bill on full repeal of the health care law, something Republicans have done half a dozen times now. (They have voted more than 50 times on measures relating to changing the law, including six times for full repeal). So why are Republicans doing this again? Frankly, because newly elected freshmen members haven’t voted for it before, and they want the opportunity to do so.
A pretty good week for proponents of Obamacare: Meanwhile yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 9.5 million people had signed up for coverage under the law. The law faces an uncertain future before the Supreme Court later this year, and it remains unpopular. The latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll finds that 40 percent approve of it while 46 percent do not. But, according to that same poll, 64 percent said that if the Supreme Court rules against federally sponsored state subsidies, then Congress should pass a law making them available. In all, between the sign ups, that polling, and the CBO report showing cost forecasts lower, it’s been a good week for proponents of the law — and they haven’t gotten very many of those.
Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1916, President Wilson appointed Louis D. Brandeis to the U.S. Supreme Court; Brandeis became its first Jewish member. How many current Supreme Court justices are Jewish? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to roy wait (@ind22rxw) for guessing Tuesday’s trivia: How long were those hostages held in Iran? The answer: 444 days.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is heading to his home state of Texas at the end of the week to speak at two Republican dinners.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has formed a committee – “Our American Revival” – to prepare to run for president.
Marco Rubio won the informal straw poll at the Koch conference of potential mega-donors.
Mike Huckabee returned to Iowa this week as more of a celebrity than a presidential candidate.
Mitt Romney won’t be winning Rupert Murdoch’s affections — not that he did in 2012 either.
A Texas judge refused to throw out former Gov. Rick Perry’s obstruction of justice case. The case could end up waylaying Perry’s potential run for president.
Former President Bill Clinton said he wants to be called “Adam” if Hillary becomes the next president during an interview with talk show host Rachael Ray.
Loretta Lynch, Mr. Obama’s nominee for attorney general, will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday at 10 a.m. to begin her confirmation hearing.
Responding to widespread criticism, Mr. Obama backtracked on his proposal to end 529 college savings accounts Tuesday.
Republicans aren’t acting with urgency to pass a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security by Feb. 27. And the border security bill, which the House was to take up this week, could now be pushed back to February or March, after DHS funding is approved.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., changed his mind and is now back on board with the White House to wait to vote on new sanctions on Iran.
Congressional Republicans might be contemplating another lawsuit against the president — this time for his executive action on immigration.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., says former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Rep. Kevin Yoder, who helped roll back a key provision of Dodd-Frank, isn’t about to let Sen. Elizabeth Warren get away with demonizing his one legislative achievement.
House Dems’ three-day retreat in Philadelphia begins Wednesday, where there’ll be plenty of internal power struggles to address.
Americans for Prosperity, one of the Koch network arms, is urging members of Congress to reject a potential increase in the gas tax.
Alabama’s only openly gay state representative is threatening to expose her colleagues’ extramarital affairs, if they continue to refer to gay marriage as an affront to “family values.” A judge recently overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage, but issued a stay pending appeal.
Photo of Sec Kerry and bipartisan entourage on ride back to DC from Riyadh pic.twitter.com/hLehk6cqdD
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 27, 2015
— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) January 28, 2015
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