Congress is in recess this week following the Columbus Day holiday. Before wrapping up last week, the House Committee on Budget cleared budget reconciliation legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood for one year and make substantial changes to the Affordable Care Act, including a repeal of the individual and employer mandates, medical device tax, and Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board. The bill also would withdraw unused funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. A House floor vote on the measure is expected the week of Oct. 19.
In House leadership news, confusion continues among Republicans after the frontrunner for the speaker post, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), abruptly withdrew from the race only hours before the vote was expected last Thursday. Republicans are now scrambling to identify a viable replacement candidate.
The party has urged Ways and Means Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) to enter the race, but he has so far been reluctant to reconsider the idea after clearly stating last week that he would not be a candidate. Several others within the party have said they would step up if Ryan ultimately declines, but the wait continues.