House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., left, talks with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. as they arrive for a GOP caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Latest: Congress close to deal on coal miners' benefits

April 26, 2017 - 11:41 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on efforts in Congress to repeal the health care law and agree on a spending bill to keep the government open (all times local):

11:25 a.m.

Coal-state lawmakers say Congress is close to a deal to extend health benefits for more than 22,000 retired miners and widows whose medical coverage is set to expire Sunday.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Wednesday that a "permanent" fix will be included in a Senate measure to keep the government open. The fix would cost $1.3 billion over 10 years.

West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito also was confident the Senate would approve the plan and noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky supports it.

House Republican leaders have been pushing a 20-month health care extension, but Capito and Manchin said they were optimistic House Speaker Paul Ryan would agree to a long-term fix.

The plan does not address pension benefits for unionized miners.


10:45 a.m.

Negotiations on a $1 trillion-plus catchall spending bill have hit a snag over former President Barack Obama's health care law.

GOP Speaker Paul Ryan and top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi are at odds over a demand by Democrats to use the must-do measure to guarantee that payments continue to flow under the health care law to help low-income beneficiaries with out-of-pocket costs.

Pelosi is insisting the those cost-sharing payments be addressed in the legislation, a demand she made after President Donald Trump threatened to cut them off as a negotiating chip. Aides said Pelosi and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney sparred over the payments in a Tuesday phone call.

Pelosi wants the payments addressed in the catchall spending bill but Ryan told reporters Wednesday that "we're not doing that."


10:30 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the latest Republican effort to scuttle the health care law is winning support, but he stopped short of promising a vote anytime soon.

Ryan told reporters on Wednesday that a proposal that would allow states to get federal waivers to ignore certain coverage requirements, helps secure consensus.

Republicans had been forced to pull their initial bill to repeal the law due to divisions among Republicans.

Ryan said, "We'll vote on it when we get the votes." Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas said the House will vote on a spending bill to keep the government open, but not health care this week.


3:30 a.m.

Leading House conservatives are saying good things about a plan to revive the GOP health care bill. But an influential GOP House moderate is opposing the proposal, leaving party leaders to assess whether the idea could help one of President Donald Trump's premier but most problematic priorities spring back to life.

Republican lawmakers were meeting Wednesday to consider how to rescue the GOP drive to repeal much of President Barack Obama's health care law.

That salvage effort comes as bipartisan bargainers edge toward agreement on a separate $1 trillion budget bill that would prevent a partial federal shutdown this Saturday. While erasing Obama's statute is solidly opposed by Democrats, the budget measure will need support from both parties because GOP conservatives often oppose spending legislation.

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