Trump scraps health care vote at the last minute

Casey Quinlan

Casey Quinlan Policy Reporter, ThinkProgress

Republican leaders decided to pull the American Health Care Act from consideration on the House floor on Friday, after discovering they would not have enough votes to pass it. The vote was originally supposed to take place on Thursday, before talks between President Donald Trump and far-right Republican lawmakers broke down. This defeat spells trouble for other items on the GOP’s agenda, such as tax reform.

Trump reportedly made the decision just minutes before a full floor vote was scheduled to take place. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) came to the White House earlier that afternoon to tell him the bill had little chance of success.

After Republican leaders and President Trump met with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of far-right conservatives, and the Tuesday Group, which includes moderate conservatives, on Thursday, Republican leaders concluded they would not be able to reach a deal on the health care bill that day.

Thursday night, President Trump told House Republicans that he would abandon efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare and focus on tax reform if they did successfully pass Trumpcare the following day.

Powerful conservative groups opposed the legislation. The Koch brothers’ network of activism and advertising groups said they would work together to create a fund to support conservatives who voted against the bill. Heritage Action — a conservative policy advocacy group, and sister organization of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation — also fiercely opposed the bill. Its CEO, Michael A. Needham, released a statement that read, “It is an awful bill that will impact millions of Americans’ lives and is opposed by nearly every serious conservative health care analyst. This legislation is a policy, process, and political disaster.”

Republicans and Democrats alike have said the process for passing this legislation through the House has been extremely rushed. Many lawmakers hadn’t seen the text of the legislation they were supposed to be voting on. On Thursday night, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) tweeted, “We must have the opportunity to read and understand the final bill before we vote. It’s irresponsible to do otherwise.”

Before the original Trumpcare bill was released to the public, House Republicans closely guarded it in the Capitol. Lawmakers searched for the legislation on March 2, only to find it had been moved to another location.

Only on March 7 was it finally made public. Republican leaders scheduled it for a vote in the House only weeks later. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) initially said the Senate will vote on the bill next week. In contrast, it took over a year to pass Obamacare, which began as a bipartisan effort.

The bill went through significant changes this week after Republican leaders made concessions to House Freedom Caucus Republicans, which included more cuts to Medicaid, ending Medicaid expansion earlier, and gutting Obamacare’s essential health benefits requirement, which provides services such as maternity care, substance abuse treatment, and emergency services. Still, dissatisfied Freedom Caucus Republicans wanted to get rid of the coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and a provision that allows children to remain on their parents plan until they are 26 years old.

Ninety percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans have favorable views of allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, according to a 2016 Pew Research survey. Seventy-five percent of Democrats and 63 percent of Republicans have favorable views on the provision that protects people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage.

Only 17 percent of Americans approved of the Republican health care bill, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll.

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This was reposted from Think Progress.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work