The Latest: House vote to curb White House regulation power

AP News
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Posted: Jan 05, 2017 8:31 PM
The Latest: House vote to curb White House regulation power

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress (all times EST):

8:15 p.m.

The Republican-led House has approved a bill that would require congressional approval before any major regulation can take effect, a reflection of GOP frustration with what they consider onerous rules from eight years of the Obama administration.

The House has passed the measure, 237-187.

The vote is just one of several that GOP leaders are planning in the early days of the 115th Congress to overhaul how regulations are made and to repeal specific rules enacted during President Barack Obama's final months in office.

Supporters argue that excessive government regulations have led to higher prices for consumers, fewer jobs and slower economic growth. They say Congress should have more say before the regulations are enacted.

Democrats say that many tools already exist for blocking or replacing harmful regulations.

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4:40 p.m.

Two House Democrats are planning to boycott President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration to protest comments Trump made during the campaign.

Spokesmen for Reps. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Luis Gutierrez of Illinois say the lawmakers will not attend Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration at the Capitol.

Gutierrez said in a statement Thursday he that could not look his wife, daughters or grandson in the eye "if I sat there and attended as if everything that candidate Donald Trump had said about women, Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims ... is OK or erased from my memory."

Gutierrez says he will attend the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21 to protest Trump's election.

Clark told the Boston Globe she believes attending the inauguration would "normalize" Trump's promotion of "bigoted, misogynist, anti-Semitic and racist claims."

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4:05 p.m.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain says that while he continues to "have concerns" about Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson over perceived coziness with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he's going to give Tillerson a chance to explain himself before deciding whether to oppose him.

McCain made his remarks a day after jokingly comparing the chances that he might support Tillerson with the likelihood that pigs could fly.

But McCain told reporters Thursday that "I had a meeting with him that I thought was productive." He added that "you've got to give him a chance to make his case."

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, another skeptic on Tillerson, says he's still mulling the nomination and he's "neither negative nor positive."

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3:50 p.m.

The GOP-led House is continuing its focus on curbing agency regulations and is poised to vote on legislation that requires Congress to approve the most economically significant regulations before they go into effect.

Supporters say excessive government regulations have led to higher prices for consumers and fewer jobs. They say Congress should have more say before the regulations are enacted because lawmakers are directly accountable for their vote.

Opponents counter that the U.S. already has avenues for stopping bad regulations and the bill is just a tool for powerful interest groups to quash consumer protections.

The House passed the measure in the last congressional session, but it faltered in the Senate. GOP leaders are taking a renewed crack with President-elect Donald Trump offering his support during the campaign.

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3:40 p.m.

The House is poised to approve a measure that rebukes the United Nations for criticizing Israeli settlements as Republicans hammer President Barack Obama, accusing him of turning his back on the Jewish state.

A vote is scheduled Thursday on the non-binding measure that declares unwavering support for Israel. The measure also insists that the United States oppose any future actions by the U.N. that are "one-sided and anti-Israel."

Democrats who opposed the measure derided Republicans for distorting the complexities of the Middle East peace process. They also say Obama deserves credit for engineering a security agreement last year that gives Israel $38 billion in U.S. aid.

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2:40 p.m.

Advocacy groups supporting abortion rights say President-elect Donald Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have "awakened a sleeping giant" in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The groups say repealing the health insurance law will require millions of women to pay more for health care, particularly for contraception and cancer screenings.

The groups and about two dozen Democratic lawmakers made the comments to reporters on Capitol Hill on the same day that House Speaker Paul Ryan says the GOP will try to cut off taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards says her organization's clinics are the only source of health care for many people. She says Ryan is essentially "pledging to deny women access to basic health care across this country." She says her group will be fighting back.

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1:15 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says lawmakers will act this year on repealing President Barack Obama's health care law — and replacing it with a Republican alternative.

Republicans running for Congress have said they plan to vote this year on dismantling much of Obama's law. But the Wisconsin Republican went a step further Thursday, saying they'd also write a bill to replace it in 2017.

GOP lawmakers have never rallied behind any plan to replace the 2010 Obama law. It will be difficult and time-consuming because there are many views among Republicans about what the replacement would do and how to pay for it.

Republicans have discussed delaying the effective repeal date for perhaps several years to give themselves time to replace the health care law and to phase in changes.

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12:05 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says upcoming legislation to repeal the health care law would cut off taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood.

The Wisconsin Republican spoke after a special House panel issued a report criticizing the organization over providing tissue from aborted fetuses to researchers. Planned Parenthood provides birth control, abortions and various women's health services.

A similar bill last year also would have "defunded" the group, which receives government reimbursements from the Medicaid program for non-abortion health care for low-income women.

The defunding effort is a top priority of anti-abortion lawmakers but could complicate "Obamacare" repeal in the Senate, where at least one Republican senator has opposed the repeal. Susan Collins of Maine cited the effort to "defund" Planned Parenthood in her opposition to repeal.

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11:00 a.m.

Senate Democrats want a House ethics investigation into stock sales by a congressman who is now a Cabinet pick of President-elect Donald Trump's.

Trump has tapped Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Price had traded over $300,000 in shares in health care companies over the previous four years while pushing legislation that might affect those stocks' values.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters Thursday he doesn't know if Price broke any laws. The New York Democrat said the House's independent Office of Congressional Ethics should investigate before Senate hearings on his nomination begin.

Trump spokesman Phil Blando calls the demand a stunt.