Trump says he will not sign moderate ‘Dreamer’ immigration bill

Children interact with members of the Presbyterian church in Sunland Park, U.S. at a new section of the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border after a liturgy to commemorate the religious dimensions of migration, in this picture taken from Anapra neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico May 3, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Friday he would not sign the more moderate of two bills under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives that are meant to address the threat of deportation hanging over the United States’ “Dreamer” immigrants.

“I’m looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel in front of the White House. “I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan plans to bring up the two bills for votes in the Republican-controlled House next week, moving to break a long-standing stalemate on Capitol Hill over immigration law. But Ryan said on Thursday he could not guarantee passage of either measure.

Up to 1.8 million young Dreamers, mostly Hispanics who entered the country illegally years ago as children, could qualify for protection under the more moderate of the two Republican bills.

It would allow the Dreamers to apply for temporary “non-immigrant” visas to remain in the United States. It would also provide $25 billion to strengthen security at the U.S.-Mexico border, including funding construction of a border wall that the Republican president wants to build.

The other bill is a conservative Republican measure that would build the border wall and deny Dreamers the chance of citizenship.

(Reporting by Justin Mitchell; editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Tim Ahmann and Jonathan Oatis)

Congressional chaplain can stay in job: House Speaker

FILE PHOTO: Patrick Conroy, Chaplain of the House of Representatives, leads Democrats and Republicans in prayer before they face off in the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington, U.S., June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said late on Thursday that the chamber’s chaplain will remain in his position, after he unexpectedly asked Reverend Patrick Conroy to resign two weeks ago, outraging some lawmakers and the Jesuit priest himself.

Conroy released a letter earlier on Thursday rescinding his abrupt resignation which Ryan, a Catholic and the top Republican in the House, said he had accepted. Conroy’s last day had been scheduled for May 24.

“My original decision was made in what I believed to be the best interest of this institution,” Ryan said in a statement. “To be clear, that decision was based on my duty to ensure that the House has the kind of pastoral services that it deserves. It is my job as speaker to do what is best for this body, and I know that this body is not well served by a protracted fight over such an important post.”

It is unusual for House chaplains to be dismissed, and Democrats said the ouster was tied to a prayer Conroy led during debate over the tax overhaul Republicans passed at the end of last year without any support from the minority party. Ryan and fellow Republicans, however, said the lawmakers needed better pastoral care.

In his statement, Ryan said he would meet with Conroy next week.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Chris Reese)

House Speaker Ryan: Florida shooting shouldn’t threaten right to own guns

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks at a news conference with Republican leaders after a closed conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan, in a round of interviews with conservative radio shows on Thursday, said the Florida school shooting that killed at least 17 people on Wednesday should not threaten citizens’ rights to own guns.

“There’s more questions than answers at this stage,” the Republican lawmaker said in an interview with Tom Katz on Indiana radio station WIBC about the mass shooting less than 24 hours earlier.

“I don’t think that means you then roll that conversation into taking away citizens’ rights – taking away a law-abiding citizen’s rights. Obviously this conversation typically goes there. Right now, I think we need to take a breath and collect the facts.”

(Reporting by Lisa LambertEditing by Chizu Nomiyama)

House speaker optimistic on tax reform prospects this year

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan walks through National Statuary Hall after making a statement at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2017.

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to reassure business leaders on Tuesday that tax reform is on track for this year, despite repeated delays and a string of political distractions from President Donald Trump.

In what is billed as a major speech, House Speaker Paul Ryan will seek to dispel the notion that tax reform is adrift by describing what a U.S. tax code overhaul will look like, according to a source close to Ryan’s office.

The speaker will emphasize the importance of permanent reforms and reject the notion that legislation should do little more than reduce tax rates, the source said. He will underscore the need for international corporate tax reforms in remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers.

Aides said he is not expected to delve into the details of tax proposals.

The Wisconsin Republican delivered a similar optimistic message to lobbyists and campaign donors in Virginia over the weekend, adding that he expected Congress to finalize legislation to dismantle Obamacare by mid-summer, according to a source familiar with the Speaker’s comments.

Originally expected to unveil tax reform legislation in the spring, Republicans are under pressure from business lobbyists to make good on campaign pledges to reform the tax code and pass healthcare legislation.

Lawmakers also need legislative victories to stave off Democratic challenges in next year’s congressional mid-term elections.

“What Ryan needs to do is refocus folks on the rationale for having tax reform, not just the political rationale, but the economic rationale,” said Jeff Kupfer, a former economic adviser to President George W. Bush.

Markets have been anticipating lower taxes. Major stock indexes have hit multiple record highs from Trump’s election to the end of the first quarter, on bets he would improve economic growth by cutting taxes and boosting infrastructure spending.

The tax reform debate has largely moved behind closed doors, where Ryan is trying to hammer out an agreement with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and Republican chairmen of the two congressional tax committees. The aim is to unveil tax reform legislation in September.

Outside those discussions, lawmakers have begun to talk about legislation that would do little more than cut taxes, with temporary reductions financed by the federal deficit.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Chris Sanders and Jeffrey Benkoe)

President Trump calls for prayer after shooting

Donald Trump

By Kami Klein

In response to the shooting at Simpson Park in Alexandria of House majority Whip Steve Scalise along with the wounding of four others, President Trump called for prayer, reminding the nation: “We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in this nation’s capital, above all, they love our country.”

In a special session just hours after the President’s press conference, House speaker Paul Ryan stressed to the Senate that “An attack on one of us, is an attack on ALL of us.”  He remarked that the most memorable picture that he hoped would be remembered after this day was of the Democratic leadership engaged in prayer for the fallen. With great emotion in his voice he stated. “We are one House. The People’s House, and we are one in humanity.”

As followers of Christ, we understand the power of prayer and of God’s mercy.  Praying is bipartisan and does not belong to one political party or the other nor is it only for our nation but for the entire world for we are all God’s children.

We must always remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:19-20 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are assembled in My name, there I am in their midst.”

In his address to the press this morning, President Trump added that “we are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good.” In this Church family, we stand together by the thousands, and we are asking that all of us join in prayer now for our nation.   

Please pray for those that were wounded today, Steve Scalise, Officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey as well as Zachary Barth and Matt Mika.  Pray for their quick recovery and for their family and friends as they must now be ready to help in their healing with loving support.  Pray with gratitude for the protection of so many from what could have been a massacre and the law enforcement who put their lives on the line without a second thought.  And pray with compassion for the suspect’s family who must also cope with the shock of this attack.

As Christians, we are commanded to love one another.  This nation needs God’s love and as His children, we must be HIS example. Our first step must be in prayer.


U.S. Republican leaders hunt for votes for healthcare bill

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks about healthcare at his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S, April 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House Republicans were making headway in efforts to build support for a reworked plan to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, but have not decided when to vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday.

Ryan spoke as Republican leaders scoured the U.S. Capitol in search of centrist Republican backing for the amended measure after it gained the approval on Wednesday of a group of hard-right Republican conservatives who had helped to sink the original version last month.

“We’re making very good progress,” Ryan told reporters at a news conference, saying the changes endorsed by conservative Freedom Caucus Republicans on Wednesday would also appeal to moderate Republicans.

The House could vote as early as this week on the legislation, aides said, meaning it could pass the House in time for President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office on Saturday.

It remained unclear whether the amended bill could attract the 216 votes needed to pass the House, given the united Democratic opposition. Its future is further clouded in the Senate.

“We’re going to go when we have the votes,” Ryan said.

Republicans in Congress have made repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, a central campaign promise for seven years. Republican President Donald Trump made it a top campaign promise.

But House Republicans are not keen to repeat last month’s debacle, when their leaders acquiesced to Trump’s demand for a floor vote on the bill, only to unceremoniously yank the measure after determining it could not pass.

The Republican healthcare bill would replace Obamacare’s income-based tax credit with an age-based credit, roll back an expansion of the Medicaid government health insurance program for the poor and repeal most Obamacare taxes.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had estimated 24 million fewer people would have insurance under the original version.

The new amendment that has won over a number of conservatives, drafted by Representative Tom MacArthur, would allow states to seek federal waivers to opt out of some of the law’s provisions. That includes the highly popular provision mandating that insurers charge those with pre-existing conditions the same as healthy consumers, and that insurers cover so-called essential health benefits, such as maternity care.

Some centrists say the changes do not address their worries that the bill would hurt poor Americans in the Medicaid program. Others, including Republican Representative Dan Donovan of New York, said the loosening of protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions was a major problem.

“It’s going to cost people with pre-existing conditions even more money to have coverage … It’s something that we shouldn’t be doing,” Donovan said on CNN.

House Democrats on Thursday threatened to oppose a short-term government funding bill if the Republicans try to bring the healthcare bill to the floor this week.

Ryan brushed off this threat, even though Republicans are expected to need some Democratic votes to pass the funding bill.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that Trump was making Republicans “walk the plank” on a healthcare bill that was “wildly unpopular.”

Ryan dismissed the idea that some Republican lawmakers’ House seats were at risk if they vote for the healthcare bill. “I think people’s seats are at risk if we don’t do what we said we would do” and repeal Obamacare, he said.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Amanda Becker and Will Dunham; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

Ryan opposes Trump working with Democrats on healthcare

House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during his news conference after Republicans pulled the American Health Care Act. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, said he does not want President Donald Trump to work with Democrats on new legislation for revamping the country’s health insurance system, commonly called Obamacare.

In an interview with “CBS This Morning” that will air on Thursday, Ryan said he fears the Republican Party, which failed last week to come together and agree on a healthcare overhaul, is pushing the president to the other side of the aisle so he can make good on campaign promises to redo Obamacare.

“I don’t want that to happen,” Ryan said, referring to Trump’s offer to work with Democrats.

Carrying out those reforms with Democrats is “hardly a conservative thing,” Ryan said, according to interview excerpts released on Wednesday. “I don’t want government running health care. The government shouldn’t tell you what you must do with your life, with your healthcare,” he said.

On Tuesday, Trump told senators attending a White House reception that he expected lawmakers to reach a deal “very quickly” on healthcare, but he did not offer specifics.

“I think it’s going to happen because we’ve all been promising – Democrat, Republican – we’ve all been promising that to the American people,” he said.

Trump said after the failure of the Republican plan last week that Democrats, none of whom supported the bill, would be willing to negotiate new healthcare legislation because Obamacare is destined to “explode.”

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler)

House speaker tells Trump healthcare bill lacks votes: CNN

U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Representative Greg Walden (R-OR) (center L, at table) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) (center R, at table) testify at an early-morning Rules Committee hearing as Congress considers health care legislation to repeal Obamacare at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Richard Cowan and Dustin Volz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in Congress said they lacked the votes needed for passage of their U.S. healthcare system overhaul and a key committee chairman came out in opposition after Donald Trump demanded a vote on Friday in a gamble that could hobble his presidency.

Amid a chaotic scramble for votes, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, who has championed the bill, met with Trump at the White House. Ryan told the president there were not enough votes to pass the plan, U.S. media reported.

The showdown on the House floor follows Trump’s decision to cut off negotiations to shore up support inside his own party, with moderates and the most conservative lawmakers balking. On Thursday night he had issued an ultimatum that lawmakers pass the legislation that has his backing or keep in place the Obamacare law that Republicans have sought to dismantle since it was enacted seven years ago.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said at the White House, adding that Ryan should keep his job regardless of the outcome.

The White House said the vote was set for about 3:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) on Friday on the bill to replace Democratic former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement, the 2010 Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.

“There’s nobody that objectively can look at this effort and say the president didn’t do every single thing he possibly could with this team to get every vote possible,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters.

Republicans control Congress and the White House but have deep divisions over the first major legislative test since Trump became president on Jan. 20.

In a blow to the bill’s prospects, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen announced his opposition, expressing concern about reductions in coverage under the Medicaid insurance program for the poor and the retraction of “essential” health benefits that insurers must cover.

“We need to get this right for all Americans,” Frelinghuysen said.

Representative Rodney Davis, a member of the House Republican team trying to win passage, said the bill was short of the needed votes, and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney added it was unclear if enough support was present.

Vice President Mike Pence, a former House member and influential among Republican lawmakers, postponed a planned trip to Arkansas and Tennessee to help secure passage.

“I’m still optimistic,” Spicer said. “I feel like we’re continuing to work hard. But at the end of the day you can’t force somebody to do something.”

Trump and House Republican leaders cannot afford to lose many votes in their own party because Democrats are unified in opposition, saying the bill would take away medical insurance from millions of Americans and leave the more-than-$3 trillion U.S. healthcare system in disarray.

Republican supporters said the plan would achieve their goal of rolling back the government’s “nanny state” role in healthcare.


House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, “What’s happening today is a lose-lose situation for the Republicans. It’s a lose-lose for the American people, that’s for sure. But the people who vote for this will have this vote tattooed to their foreheads as they go forward.”

Failure of the measure would call into question Trump’s ability to get other key parts of his agenda, including tax cuts and a boost in infrastructure spending, through a Congress controlled by his own party.

“If it doesn’t pass, this issue is dead,” Republican Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, a bill supporter, said of Republican healthcare legislation. “This is the one shot.”

Even if the legislation passes in the House, it faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where Republicans have expressed misgivings.

Healthcare was the first major test of how Trump, a real estate magnate who touted his deal-making prowess in the 2016 presidential campaign, would work with Congress. Days of negotiations led to some changes in the bill but failed to produce a consensus deal.

U.S. stocks were mixed on Friday in early afternoon trading, having pared earlier gains, while U.S. treasuries were mostly higher.

Leading Republicans had taken to the House floor to make their case to pass the bill and implored conservatives to seize the opportunity to make good on the party’s long promise to get rid of Obamacare.


“Today we are faced with a stark choice,” said Republican Diane Black, who heads the Budget Committee. “While no legislation is perfect, this bill does accomplish some important reforms.”

Black called the bill “only our first step.”

Trump added on Twitter, “This is finally your chance for a great plan!”

Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a breast cancer survivor, called the bill “an immoral piece of legislation” that would gut medical coverage and patient protections.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday found 56 percent of U.S. voters opposed the House bill, with only 17 percent supporting it. Quinnipiac said its poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Replacing Obama’s signature health care plan was a key campaign pledge for Trump and Republicans, who view it as overly intrusive and expensive.

Obamacare boosted the number of Americans with health insurance through mandates on individuals and employers, and income-based subsidies. About 20 million Americans gained insurance coverage through the law.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said under the Republican legislation 14 million people would lose medical coverage by next year and more than 24 million would be uninsured in 2026.

The House plan would rescind a range of taxes created by Obamacare, end a penalty on people who refuse to obtain health insurance, end Obamacare’s income-based subsidies to help people buy insurance while creating less-generous age-based tax credits

It also would end Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid state-federal insurance program for the poor, cut future federal Medicaid funding and let states impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients.

House leaders agreed to a series of last-minute changes to try to win over disgruntled conservatives, including ending the Obamacare requirement that insurers cover certain “essential benefits” such as maternity care, mental health services and prescription drug coverage.

The House and Senate had hoped to deliver a new healthcare bill to Trump by April 8, when Congress is scheduled to begin a two-week spring break.

Click on the links below for related graphics:

Graphic on Obamacare and Republican healthcare bill (

Graphic on shifting positions in the U.S. Senate on Republican healthcare bill (

Graphic on poll on Americans’ views of the Republican healthcare bill (

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey, Susan Cornwell, Jeff Mason, David Morgan, David Lawder, Amanda Becker, and Doina Chiacu; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Bill Trott)

Republicans revamp U.S. health bill, boost benefits to older Americans

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

By Susan Cornwell and Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Republicans are working on changes to their healthcare overhaul bill to provide more generous tax credits for older Americans and add a work requirement for the Medicaid program for the poor, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Sunday.

Ryan said Republican leaders still planned to bring the healthcare bill to a vote on the House of Representatives floor on Thursday. Speaking on the “Fox News Sunday” television program, he said leaders were working to address concerns that had been raised by rank-and-file Republicans to the legislation.

Republicans remain deeply divided over the healthcare overhaul, which is President Donald Trump’s first major legislative initiative. It aims to fulfill his campaign pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, the signature healthcare program of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

Democrats say the Republican plan could throw millions off health insurance and hurt the elderly, poor and working families while giving tax cuts to the rich.

“We think we should be offering even more assistance than the bill currently does” for lower-income people age 50 to 64, Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, said of the tax credits for health insurance that are proposed in the legislation.

Ryan also said Republicans were working on changes that would allow federal block grants to states for Medicaid and permit states to impose a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients.

Trump told reporters in a brief conversation aboard Air Force One that he had meetings about healthcare reform in Florida at the weekend and that the effort to sell the proposal was going well.

He has been wooing lawmakers to vote for the bill and won the backing of a dozen conservative lawmakers on Friday after an Oval Office meeting in which the president endorsed a work requirement and block-grant option for Medicaid.

Trump is set to meet Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy special adviser under Obama who helped shape the Affordable Care Acton, at the White House on Monday, along with Ryan and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Block grants would give states a set amount of money to cover people on the Medicaid program and provide flexibility in spending decisions. However, there is no guarantee funding would keep up with future demands.


While Ryan said he felt “very good” about the health bill’s prospects in the House, a leading conservative lawmaker, Representative Mark Meadows, told the C-Span “Newsmakers” program that there were currently 40 Republican “no” votes in the House. Republicans hold a majority in the chamber but cannot afford to have more than 21 defections for the measure to pass.

Meadows and two other Republican opponents of the bill, Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, met at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Saturday “negotiating with the president’s team, trying to fix this bill,” Cruz told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

North Carolina Republican Meadows said the changes being considered for the Medicaid program would not go far enough if they left it up to states to decide whether to put in place a work requirement.

Price acknowledged the tough negotiations, telling ABC’s “This Week”: “It’s a fine needle that needs to be thread, there’s no doubt about it.”

The healthcare bill would face significant challenges in the Senate even if it were to pass the House.

Senator Tom Cotton, a conservative Arkansas Republican, said the bill would not reduce premiums for people on the private insurance market. “It’s fixable, but it’s going to take a lot of work,” Cotton said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Moderate Republicans have also expressed concerns about the bill, and their worries are often not the same as that of conservatives.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine worried the bill would harm older Americans, and shift Medicaid costs to states – something critics say a block-grant approach would only make worse.

Collins said coverage issues must also be dealt with, citing a report from the Congressional Budget Office that said 14 million people would lose health coverage under the House bill over the next year and 24 million over the next decade.

Affordability has been one of the bigger concerns that insurers and hospital groups have raised about the legislation. To the extent that a change in tax credits makes healthcare more affordable for some people, insurers and hospitals could stand to benefit.

The BlueCross BlueShield Association emphasized the need for the replacement to be affordable when the draft of the healthcare bill was released earlier this month. The association represents BCBS insurers that cover the vast majority of the roughly 10 million people enrolled in 2017 Obamacare plans.