Slimmed-Down Health Insurance Bill Stalls

There’s skinny latte and skinny jeans and skinny ties and now there is what they’re calling skinny Obamacare with the Senate trying but failing to pass skinny health insurance, which looks now to be an impossible campaign promise – ending the 2010 government-mandated health insurance law.

After seven years of advocating euthanizing Obamacare, the Senate voted today by the hair of its chinny-chin-chin, 49-51, to keep it alive. Alabama’s two senators, Richard Shelby and Luther Strange, both voted to repeal Obamacare.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., voted with Democrats and Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine to defeat the repeal effort. Earlier Thursday, Sen. McCain said he wouldn’t vote for the bill unless the House guaranteed a conference committee on it.

After House Speaker Paul Ryan said the House would go to conference, McCain then voted against repeal. President Trump Tweeted that “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”

The slimmed-down Senate version of health insurance would have ended some aspects of Obamacare, including the individual mandate and certain taxes.

Obamacare made 18 million insurance policies illegal and required insurance under penalty of fines. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that if the individual mandate to buy insurance were repealed, some 15 million would choose not to buy any.

Business supports efforts to contain health care costs and the repeal of onerous taxes and relief from the employer mandate.

Both the House and Senate were to leave Washington, D.C., today for a month-long recess, but now the Senate plans to return to session on Monday afternoon.


The Business Council of Alabama joined dozens of other similar business advocacy organizations this week in signing a National Association of Manufacturers joint letter to the U.S. Senate urging quick confirmation of William Emanuel and Marvin Kaplan as members of the National Labor Relations Board.

Emanuel and Kaplan will be excellent additions to the National Labor Relations Board due to their unique experiences in the public and private sectors, as well as their first-hand knowledge of complex labor issues facing employers and employees, the letter said.

“Based on their extensive knowledge of labor law, we are confident that if confirmed Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Emanuel will restore the balance among employers, employees and labor unions to interpret and reverse needless changes made to labor law and eliminate the $81.6 billion in labor regulatory costs imposed under President Obama’s Administration,” the NAM letter said.

“As the nation’s leading manufacturing associations, we urge a swift confirmation of Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Emanuel as Members of the National Labor Relations Board,” the letter said.


White House officials and member of Congress Thursday released a set of guiding principles for enacting tax reform this year, the National Association of Manufacturers said.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons praised the principles as “a real path forward” for tax reform. “Today, America’s leaders came together for America’s manufacturing workers,” Timmons said.

He called the tax principles “the most promising sign yet that tax reform will happen this year.”

“Our current tax system is pummeling manufacturers in America, putting us at a serious disadvantage compared to the rest of the world,” he said.

USA Today reported that the plan would cut the top rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent but it didn’t say whether the corporate rate would drop. President Trump said he wants a corporate rate of 15 percent.

The Business Council of Alabama is the NAM’s the exclusive representative in Alabama.


AG Jeff Sessions Says He Won’t Step Down Unless Trump Asks
Associated Press (7/27) “His loyalty to the boss severely tested but seemingly intact, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday he will stay in the job for as long as President Donald Trump wants him to serve. Sessions told The Associated Press he and Trump have a ‘harmony of values and beliefs’ and he intends to stay and fight for the president’s agenda ‘as long as he sees that as appropriate’.

“Congressional Republicans have rallied around Sessions, a former senator from Alabama, and expressed mortification at the humiliation visited on him by Trump in several interviews and a series of tweets. Trump is upset that Sessions recused himself months ago from the investigation into interactions between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, and that he has not taken a tougher line against his defeated Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

“Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina warned Thursday there would be ‘holy hell’ to pay if Trump fired Sessions. President Donald Trump has discussed with confidants and advisers in recent days the possibility of installing a new attorney general through a recess appointment if Jeff Sessions leaves the job.”

House Says, ‘No!’ to CFPB’s Arbitration Rule
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Hackbarth 7/26) “After a few month hiatus, Congress is firing up the Congressional Review Act (CRA), this time to protect a useful tool for resolving disputes. Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) went “rogue” and issued a regulation eliminating the option of arbitration. Apparently, it prefers letting plaintiff lawyers launch class-action lawsuits.

“However, as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) explain, consumers get the short end of the stick from those: There are already about 15 million class-action lawsuits filed each year. But just 13% of them actually result in a benefit to consumers-and the average payout is roughly $32. Plaintiff lawyers, meanwhile, earn an average of $1 million per settled case. In other words, trial lawyers walk away with millions, while consumers are stuck paying new fees to cover the costs. And companies aren’t going to pay for arbitration if they’re also open to class-action lawsuits; it defeats the whole purpose. So, consumers will lose out on a superior option.

“In a letter to the House of Representatives supporting the legislation, the U.S. Chamber explained why it should be repealed: ‘Even though this regulation is directed at financial firms, the CFPB’s rule impacts businesses of all types that the Bureau believes touch consumer finance – even mobile telephone service providers and website operators.

“Members of the House took a much-needed step toward checking the power of a rogue agency and its attempt to impose a bad rule on American consumers. Now, it’s off to the Senate for the next step in reining in the out-of-control agency and protecting arbitration as an efficient, cost-effective tool for consumers and businesses.”