President Trump is set to host three moderate Democratic senators for dinner on Tuesday as part of his push for tax reform, Politico reports. The Democrats on the guest list: Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, all of whom are up for reelection in 2018 in states Trump won last November. Vice President Mike Pence and GOP Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, John Thune of South Dakota and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania are also slated to attend.
GOP leaders said Wednesday that they'd issue a more detailed framework of their tax overhaul the week of September 25. But while lawmakers are eager to get more details about the outline being hashed out by the so-called Big Six team of negotiators, Republicans are still divided on key elements of the plan — going from blueprint to bill is bound to be a contentious process.
In his opening remarks at a Senate Finance Committee hearing today on individual tax reform, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said the plan from the Big Six — of which he is one — "will not dictate the direction" the tax-writing committee takes. "Anyone with any experience with the Senate Finance Committee knows that we are not anyone’s rubber stamp," he said. "If a bill – particularly on something as consequential as tax reform – is going to pass in this committee, the members of the committee will have to be involved in putting it together."
Oh, and remember: Republicans also need to agree on a budget before they can push through tax reform without Democratic votes.
About 10,000 boomers turn 65 every day, becoming eligible for Medicare on their birthdays. The Census Bureau says that the sheer number of boomers entering Medicare is affecting the uninsured rate for the whole population. That rate fell to 8.8 percent in 2016, down from 9.1 percent a year earlier, with most of the decline driven by the aging of the post-war generation. (Wall Street Journal)
Social Security kept more than 26 million people out of poverty last year, according to a new report from the Census Bureau. Refundable tax credits such as the one for earned income kept 8.2 million people out of poverty, while food stamps lifted 3.6 million above the line, housing subsidies reduced the number of poor people by 3.1 million and unemployment insurance kept 680,000 out of poverty. Overall, the Census Bureau reported, the poverty rate was 12.7 percent, while a more sophisticated alternative measure that factors in government programs for low-income families put the rate at 13.9 percent, down from 14.5 percent in 2015.
Read more about the new Census Bureau numbers here.
The president and the Senate Democratic leader agreed to seek out a more permanent debt ceiling solution that would end the perpetual cycle of fiscal standoffs. “There are a lot of good reasons to do that, so certainly that’s something that will be discussed," Trump said Thursday. It might not be easy, though, as conservatives see the borrowing limit as a way to keep government spending in check. Paul Ryan said Thursday he opposes doing away with the debt ceiling.
Senators on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions heard from governors Thursday in the second of four scheduled hearings on stabilizing Obamacare. The common theme emerging from the testimony was flexibility: "Returning control to the states is prudent policy but also prudent politics," said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican. He was joined by Democrat John Hickenlooper of Colorado, who said that states need room to innovate and learn from their mistakes. Much of what the governors said was in line with what the Senate panel is already considering, including the continuation of cost-sharing subsidies to insurance companies. (CBS News, Axios)