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Mar 14, 2014

U.S. House ties Obamacare fight to Medicare payments fix

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican-run U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a bipartisan deal to spare doctors from looming Medicare pay cuts, but included a provision to undermine Obamacare that critics said made the bill a non-starter in the Democratic-run Senate.

The vote was 238-181, with most Democrats refusing to swallow the Obamacare “poison pill” Republicans included to delay for five years the tax penalty that Americans must pay under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law if they decline to sign up for insurance.

Mar 13, 2014

Partisanship engulfs U.S. Congress effort to avoid doctor pay cut

WASHINGTON, March 13 (Reuters) – A bipartisan deal in
Congress to spare doctors from recurring Medicare pay cuts was
in jeopardy on Thursday, as Republicans ignored protests from
physicians and moved forward with legislation that would use the
so-called “doc fix” to undermine Obamacare.

Hundreds of thousands of doctors who participate in
traditional Medicare face a 24 percent pay cut on April 1, as
part of a 1990s initiative to restrain federal spending on the
government healthcare program, which today serves nearly 50
million elderly and disabled people.

Mar 13, 2014

U.S. doctors push back on latest Republican move on Obamacare

WASHINGTON, March 13 (Reuters) – U.S. doctors’ biggest lobby
group said on Thursday legislation intended to avoid a major
Medicare pay cut for doctors had become a victim of partisan
politics after Republicans tied it to their efforts to undermine
Obamacare.

The American Medical Association, the biggest lobby group
for U.S. doctors, called on lawmakers in the Senate and House of
Representatives to resume the bipartisanship that early this
year produced legislation for a permanent “doc fix” that would
avoid once and for all a cut in traditional Medicare payments
enshrined in a 1997 budget law.

Mar 13, 2014

GOP takes aim at Obamacare to fund Medicare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Republicans said on Wednesday that they are pushing a plan to delay for five years the penalties for failing to buy health insurance under Obamacare, and to use the savings to spare doctors from a steep cut in Medicare payments.

Delaying until 2019 the financial penalty for not signing up for health insurance would slow down Obamacare signups and save the government billions of dollars that would otherwise be paid out in taxpayer subsidies to enrollees, the Republicans say, citing Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates.

Mar 12, 2014

U.S. Republicans take aim at Obamacare to fund Medicare fix

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Republicans said on Wednesday that they are pushing a plan to delay for five years the penalties for failing to buy health insurance under Obamacare, and to use the savings to spare doctors from a steep cut in Medicare payments.

Delaying until 2019 the financial penalty for not signing up for health insurance would slow down Obamacare signups and save the government billions of dollars that would otherwise be paid out in taxpayer subsidies to enrollees, the Republicans say, citing Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates.

Mar 9, 2014

Michigan race highlights Tea Party versus Establishment struggle

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (Reuters) – Over cocktails and chocolate-covered strawberries, a group of west Michigan Republicans gathered at a Tudor-style home in Grand Rapids and vented frustrations with Congressman Justin Amash and his Tea Party tactics that they blame for Washington’s gridlock.

“The Republican establishment has lost confidence in Justin,” said Mark Bissell, chief executive of vacuum manufacturer Bissell Inc.

Feb 13, 2014

U.S. Congress approves debt limit increase after Senate drama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress approved an increase in the country’s debt limit through March 2015, bowing to President Barack Obama’s demands to extend federal borrowing authority without conditions, but only after a dramatic Senate vote on Wednesday.

Final action in the Senate followed an hour-long nail-biting procedural tally forced by the objections of Republican Ted Cruz, a conservative Tea Party favorite. It appeared at first there would not be enough Republicans to join the Democratic majority and advance the bill.

Feb 12, 2014

Congress votes to repeal military pension cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress joined together on Wednesday to reverse a cut in pensions for working-age military retirees, as lawmakers yielded to election-year pressure to scrap a deficit reduction measure they approved only two months ago.

Final action came when the Senate voted 95-3 in favor of a measure that had been overwhelmingly embraced by the House a day earlier.

Feb 12, 2014

U.S. Congress approves debt limit hike after Senate drama

WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress approved
legislation on Wednesday to extend U.S. federal borrowing
authority for a year, bowing to President Barack Obama’s
demands for a debt limit increase without any conditions.

But final action in the Senate came only after an hour-long
nail-biting procedural vote forced by the objections of
Republican Ted Cruz, a conservative Tea Party favorite, in which
it appeared at first there would not be enough Republicans to
join the Democratic majority and advance the bill.

Feb 10, 2014

U.S. Senator Cruz urges broad Republican focus on energy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans should think beyond their support of the Keystone XL pipeline for other ways to encourage U.S. energy production, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, a potential 2016 White House contender and Tea Party favorite, said on Monday.

Cruz, who has been criticized by some Republicans for the role he played in last year’s government shutdown battle, appeared to be trying to expand his focus beyond U.S. government debt and problems with President Obama’s healthcare law to take on energy as a signature issue.