Congress

As Republicans in Congress debate changes to the Affordable Care Act, insurance executives across the country are trying to make plans for next year.

Companies that sell policies on the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, face fast-approaching deadlines to inform states about what plans they want to sell, and what they intend to charge.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

The Republican chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees have endorsed the idea of a short-term spending bill to keep the government open while budget negotiations continue.

The stop-gap spending measure, introduced by House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, would put off the deadline to May 5.

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Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

The Trump White House has doubled down on its demand that a government spending bill include $1.4 billion for a wall on the US-Mexico border. 

But a determined group of US lawmakers is prepared to stand in the president's way.

Congress returns Tuesday from its spring recess, facing yet another down-to-the-wire spate of deal-making — and a White House anxious to claim its first major legislative win.

On Friday night, the funding measure lawmakers approved last year to keep the federal government running will expire. The timing leaves members of the House and Senate just four days to reach a new agreement to fund the government, or risk a partial shutdown of federal agencies on Saturday — the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency.

Do you know where your congressional delegates stand on president Donald Trump's immigration order? 

NPR and dozens of member stations like WLRN wanted to help the public understand where its lawmakers stand on the issue. Collectively, we searched for public statements on Twitter and Facebook, on lawmakers' websites and in interviews with us in public media or other news organizations. We did this for each of the 536 members of Congress — 100 senators, 435 voting members of the House, and the District of Columbia's nonvoting House delegate.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET.

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted planned votes on Tuesday morning to advance the nominations of two Trump Cabinet nominees.

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Thursday that Republicans will — once again — vote to cut off federal tax dollars for Planned Parenthood. They are planning to include the measure as part of a bigger upcoming bill to repeal pillars of Obamacare. This isn't the first time that they have tried to pass this type of legislation — President Obama vetoed a similar bill last January.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Editor's note: This story was published in January. Congress is still investigating Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election. FBI Director James Comey and Mike Rogers of the National Security Agency testify before the House Intelligence Committee on March 20. You can watch those proceedings here.

Amid this week's firestorm over Republicans' attempt to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics (and subsequently, backpedal on that attempt), you may have seen this chart floating around the Internet. It depicts data from Google Trends about Americans' search interest in learning who their congressional representatives are, with a pronounced spike around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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Marco Bello/Reuters

Latin American transparency activists are keen to see what becomes of the Office of Congressional Ethics, a corruption watchdog in the US House of Representatives that's now in the media spotlight.

Republican lawmakers voted to gut the powers of the independent office Monday night. But on Tuesday they withdrew the plan under heavy criticism, including from President-elect Donald Trump. 

Alejandro Salas, Transparency International's regional director for the Americas, worries that the US is sending mixed signals to those fighting corruption around the world.

CM Guerrero / The Miami Herald

House Republicans abruptly reversed course Tuesday and abandoned a plan that would have gutted an independent office that investigates wrongdoing by representatives in Congress.

After a storm of criticism, including from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans have reversed themselves and restored the current rules of the Office of Congressional Ethics.

GOP members met Tuesday afternoon and agreed by unanimous consent to withdraw a change to House rules approved late Monday evening, before the new Congress was sworn in, that would have weakened the ethics office, an independent watchdog first established in 2008 under House Democrats.

The House and Senate are back in Washington today for the start of the 115th Congress. With GOP control of both chambers and soon the Oval Office, Republicans are promising an aggressive agenda that will prioritize the repeal of the current president's signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. The Senate is expected to start that process with a budget resolution this week.

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

The House Republican Conference voted Monday night to approve a change to House rules to weaken the independence of the Office of Congressional Ethics and place it under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee, a panel controlled by party leaders.

It will be part of a broader House Rules package to be voted on by the full body on Tuesday after the 115th Congress officially convenes and the House elects a speaker.

As the 115th Congress is sworn in Tuesday, Republicans will be poised to control Washington with a stronger hand than they have in a decade — with the Senate, House and the White House in GOP control once President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20.

This past November, Republicans held their congressional losses to a minimum, helped by an unexpectedly strong GOP wave behind Trump. After losing just two Senate seats, they'll hold a 52-48 edge (two independents caucus with Democrats). In the House, Republicans lost six seats, giving them a 241-194 majority.

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