Senate Republicans head home still searching for health care deal

But the towering peril behind the headlines is their inability to govern.

Last week, the House took up Senate Bill 7 (and passed it unanimously), to address problems of inappropriate teacher-student relationships.

After months of avoiding a vote on the divisive issue, the House on Sunday amended Senate Bill 2078 with language that would've required school districts to provide single-occupancy bathrooms, lockers rooms and changing facilities for students who don't want to use the ones associated with their "biological sex". If the Senate passes the bill, it will go to Gov. Sam Brownback.

Other bills aren't exactly flying over to the president's desk either.

But Republicans have said they are not willing to increase spending that much. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney lamented the president's "sense of frustration over how he's being mistreated by the Democrats on this bipartisan piece of legislation".

One item from the House bill that could be in trouble in the Senate, is the idea of allowing states to opt out of certain requirements from the Obama health law, like the list of "Essential Health Benefits" that must be covered by insurance.

The Texas Legislature approved a sweeping package of new abortion limits Friday, despite the legal challenges they're likely to provoke and almost a year after the U.S. Supreme Court dismantled a 2013 law that prompted more than half the state's abortion clinics to close. That would fulfill a chief goal for many Republicans.José Rodríguez, Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

The bill would also require the burial or creation of fetal remains — a requirement that a federal judge has already blocked in Texas after the state health rules were changed at Abbott's behest previous year.

Enzi said that enough decisions have been made "in some areas" of policy to start writing the bill but declined to discuss a timetable, reports Politico news.

So far, the cost of doing so while also balancing the state budget for the coming year without major cuts has been an increase in other taxes, particularly the sales tax.

Lawmakers have struggled since the session began in January with development of tax bills that raised about $1 billion over two years through elevation of individual income tax rates, addition of a higher upper-income tax bracket and elimination of an income tax exemption for owners of 330,000 businesses since 2012. And meanwhile, Republicans can not pass anything close to the Trump budget outline released this week.

Many senators have indicated they want stronger protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Hollywood and music stars have threatened boycotts if Texas passes a law, and the National Football League and NBA have hinted that future events could be pulled out of the state - even though Houston hosted the last Super Bowl in February.

Concern is rising among some members that as leadership remains focused on the big gets - an Obamacare repeal/replace bill and tax reform - the budget process will go from delay to defeat, which would mean a CR that goes into next year if members can't agree to a final budget on time.

"We're going to do our own thing here", said Sen. But it seems they dodged that bullet.

And that's where Republicans are right now - still searching for a deal, while the clock keeps ticking.

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