Susan Davis

Susan Davis is a congressional reporter for NPR. She has covered Congress, elections, and national politics since 2002 for publications including USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, National Journal, and Roll Call. She appears regularly on television and radio outlets to discuss congressional and national politics, and she is a contributor on PBS's "Washington Week" with Gwen Ifill. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. and a Philadelphia native.

The forecast from the Congressional Budget Office on Senate Republicans' latest health care strategy isn't great — but it's no surprise either.

The CBO estimates that legislation that repeals key pillars of the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") would trim $473 billion off the federal deficit, but result in 32 million fewer insured Americans in the next decade. It would also see premiums rise, and likely force private insurers to abandon the individual market.

And nearly every Republican has already voted for it.

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We have a better idea today what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promoting in a health care bill.

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Today was a major setback for Republican efforts to overhaul health care in this country. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would not vote on its plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act as planned.

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So Senate Republicans, it would appear, have their work cut out for them this week.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will release a discussion draft of their version of the health care bill on Thursday, with a vote likely next week.

Private health care talks have been underway in the Senate for weeks. McConnell tapped a 13-member working group last month to hash out senators' differences over the House-passed American Health Care Act. McConnell's office has since taken the lead drafting the Senate version of the party's long-promised legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans are running way behind schedule.

In the dream scenario outlined by party leaders back in January, President Trump would have signed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, months ago. By early June, Republicans were supposed to be in the thick of overhauling the tax code.

Fourteen years later, Rep. Walter B. Jones still remembers with full clarity the day he started to regret his vote to go to war.

"This is the first funeral I went to that made me started thinking that I made the wrong decision of giving (President George W.) Bush the authority to go into Iraq," said Jones, pointing to a picture of Marine Sgt. Michael Bitz.

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Now that a special counsel has been named to lead the investigation into Russian meddling, what does that mean for the other probes happening already on Capitol Hill?

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The Senate is negotiating its own legislation to repeal and replace much of the Affordable Care Act in secret talks with senators hand-picked by party leaders and with no plans for committee hearings to publicly vet the bill.

"I am encouraged by what we are seeing in the Senate. We're seeing senators leading," said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the 13 Republicans involved in the private talks. "We're seeing senators working together in good faith. We're not seeing senators throwing rocks at each other, either in private or in the press."

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And the news surprised lawmakers on both sides of the aisle today. NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis is at the Capitol, and she has been talking to some of them. And she is with us now. Hi there, Sue.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Kelly.

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And we start this morning with Republicans declaring victory and Democrats singing.

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Yeah, singing - we'll get to that.

The House of Representatives is debating the GOP bill to repeal and replace the key pillars of President Obama's health care law. This is the same bill that was pulled from the House floor just over a month ago when it was clear Republicans didn't have the votes to pass it. Now, they think they do, and the House is on track to vote on the bill early Thursday afternoon.

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It's prom season at Eagle High School in suburban Boise, where seniors are plotting for their futures and grown ups are dispensing life advice. Today's lesson in Jeff Clifford's American government class is courtesy of their congressman, Republican Raul Labrador.

"The relationships that really matter in life — whether you're a teacher, whether you're a professional, whether you're a politician — are those people that are with you before you become somebody," he says.

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Congress is on recess. Members are in their districts, and this is the time when typically they meet their constituents face to face. So let's listen in on one of those meetings.

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Let's hear the way Congress is taking another epic week. Our congressional correspondent Sue Davis is tracking the response to airstrikes in Syria and the nuclear option, as it's called, at home. She's in our studios. Hi, Sue.

This is how the Senate changes — not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.

By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.

"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice," said McConnell in a closing floor speech.

The U.S. Senate could make history this week, but no one is feeling particularly good about it.

"It is depressing; I'm very depressed," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "We're all arguing against it, but we don't know any other option."

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the GOP blockade against Merrick Garland before him are forcing another showdown over whether to invoke the "nuclear option" and change the rules of the Senate to make it easier for a president to get all of his nominations approved.

President Trump escalated a Twitter war with lawmakers in his own party on Thursday evening, calling out three members of the Freedom Caucus by name.

"If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform," he tweeted.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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