The Latest: Budget chief says spending bill still a ‘win’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Republican efforts in Congress to pass spending legislation and a health care bill (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is insisting the budget deal that will keep the government running until September is a win for the White House, despite complaints from President Trump.

Mulvaney is citing a $15 billion infusion of defense spending — about half of what Trump asked for in March — as a huge win for the White House, among other measures.

Mulvaney tells reporters in a conference call Tuesday morning that, “the truth of the matter here is that what happened is the American people won and the president negotiated that victory for them.”

Trump complained about the budget deal in a pair of tweets earlier Tuesday and called for a “good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!”

Mulvaney say that he’s “not worried about September” right now.


11:15 a.m.

The Republican health care bill has been dealt a significant blow with a respected former House committee chairman saying he doesn’t support it.

Moderate Michigan Rep. Fred Upton is a 16-term House veteran who until this year chaired the chamber’s Energy and Commerce Committee. He’s saying Tuesday he can’t back the legislation because it undermines insurance protections that current law gives people with pre-existing illnesses.

The GOP bill would let states get federal permission for insurers to charge some people with pre-existing illnesses higher premiums. Currently, they must charge sick and health customers the same premiums.

House Republican leaders hope to push the health care bill through the House this week.

But they remain short of votes. Upton’s defection could make it easier for other moderates to vote no.


10:15 a.m.

House Republican leaders say they are close on garnering the votes to scrap major parts of Democrat Barack Obama’s health care law but that they are still short of the votes.

Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida said Tuesday that leadership told the GOP caucus: “‘We’re almost there.'” Webster said “that means they’re not there. We don’t have the votes but we’re almost there.”

Trump is pressuring the House to vote on the bill this week. Multiple GOP members said there is no indication on vote timing on health care.

Republicans were forced to pull the bill in March or face defeat. Changes to the bill have won over conservatives, but moderates are reluctant to back the measure.


10 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the nation “needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September” to fix a “mess” in the Senate.

The president says on Twitter that the country needs to “either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51 (percent),” suggesting more rules changes ahead in the Senate.

Senate Republicans recently triggered the “nuclear option” to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster threshold for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. That change allowed the Senate to hold a final vote to approve Gorsuch with a simple majority.

Trump’s tweets come ahead of expected votes this week on a bipartisan budget deal to avoid a government shutdown and a possible vote in the House on a health care overhaul.