Large numbers of Americans signed up for health coverage through the Affordable Care Act in the first days of this year’s open enrollment period, according to new federal figures that show Americans flocking to insurance despite the Trump administration’s ongoing attacks on the healthcare law.
In the first four days of the 2018 enrollment period -- which began Nov. 1 -- more than 600,000 people selected health plans through the HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace, which serves residents of 39 states.
That represents a daily average of more than 150,000 signups, outpacing the beginning of last year’s open enrollment period under the Obama administration, when an average of 84,000 people a day signed up through the first 12 days.
As they await the unveiling of the Senate GOP tax plan Thursday, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee were scrambling to revise their own bill after changes made this week pushed its cost over the limit needed to pass it through the Senate on a simple majority vote.
The committee was expected to approve the House bill later Thursday on a party line vote after making additional changes.
An amendment approved Monday and offered by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the panel’s chairman, gutted a complicated excise tax for foreign transactions of multinational companies that was in the original bill.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan opened the door Wednesday to delaying the implementation of a new 20% corporate tax rate — the cornerstone of President Trump’s plan — amid worries that the GOP proposal will exceed its target of adding no more than $1.5 trillion to the deficit.
Postponing the tax cut for a year or two would diverge from Trump’s insistence that corporate rate reductions be made immediately. But Senate Republicans floated the idea this week as they frantically search for ways to pay for the corporate tax cuts and still provide relief to middle-income households.
Senators plan to introduce their bill Thursday. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said one revenue-raiser that will probably be included is a full repeal of all state and local tax deductions, including property taxes, a big blow to many residents in California and other high-tax states.
Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed a "new starting point" for the U.S.-China relationship while President Trump declared that “we have a capacity to solve world problems for many, many years to come” on Thursday, as the two men held their first official business meeting after a raft of ceremonies.
Xi, who comes into the meetings flush with new authority in his country, was more detached in his comments than Trump, who spoke in personal terms about a terrific initial meeting Wednesday night and a dinner that went longer than expected because the men were having such a great time.
Trump's language, putting the U.S. and China on near-equal footing, could play to Xi's favor. The Chinese president is eager to assert China as a dominant world power rivaling America.
Trump began his day at the Great Hall of the People, an imposing government building that sits by Tiananmen Square. Normally brisk Beijing traffic was halted as the American president's motorcade made its way from the St. Regis Hotel for the short journey. The tourists that normally pack the square were also missing.
As they prepare to unveil their own sweeping tax plan, SenateRepublicans are revisiting key provisions of the House GOP proposal, including possibly eliminating property tax deductions as well as state income tax deductions, increasing the size of child-care credits, offering more help to small businesses and having corporate tax cuts phase in or expire, according to those familiar with the negotiations.
The final outline of the Senate plan, scheduled to be released Thursday, remained a work in progress, officials cautioned.
"Everything is on the table,” one Republican official who did not want to be identified discussing the talks said Tuesday evening.
The federal deficit would grow by $1.7 trillion under the House Republican tax plan, according to a nonpartisan analysis released Wednesday, raising fresh concerns for passage because budget rules in the Senate don't allow for so much red ink.
The Trump administration announced new rules Wednesday to make it tougher for U.S. businesses to work in Cuba and for Americans to travel to the island.
The restrictions are aimed at finally enacting what Trump in June described as plans to reverse the Obama-era diplomatic opening with the communist-ruled island.
Effective Thursday, businesses will be required to obey a new set of regulations that are "intended to steer economic activity away from the Cuban military, intelligence and security services," a senior White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to brief reporters.