Here’s what Congress was doing while you were watching Comey testify

James Comey.
Source: Alex Brandon/AP
James Comey.
Source: Alex Brandon/AP

While former FBI Director James Comey's Thursday testimony blanketed the news and left a nation riveted (and drunk), congressional Republicans quietly moved forward some of their major agenda items, including trying to repeal Wall Street reform and moving the American Health Care Act forward.

As Senate Intelligence Committee members met with Comey in a classified setting, the House began debate on the Financial Choice Act — a bill that would kill many of the Wall Street regulations created following the 2008 financial crisis.

House Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) spoke out against the bill, which they dubbed the "Wrong Choice Act," in a speech on the House floor Thursday afternoon after Comey's testimony.

The House ultimately passed the bill along party lines Thursday afternoon, sending it to the Senate.

And Senate Republicans have moved closer to coming up with a health care bill they say will make good on their promise to "repeal and replace Obamacare."

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician by trade who has expressed concerns with the House's version of the AHCA, placed the Senate's odds at passing the health care bill "better than 50-50" in an interview with New York Times.

On Wednesday, during the lead-up to Comey's testimony, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a motion to fast-track the AHCA, the GOP's health care bill, which passed the House in May. That means the Senate could vote on the yet-to-be-seen bill without any committee hearings or public input.

On Thursday, the Hill reported that two key GOP senators, who had both expressed skepticism over the AHCA's Medicaid expansion cuts, are now open to phasing out that expansion. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) are key to Senate Republicans' ability to earn the 50 votes needed to pass the bill.

Democratic elected officials sent warnings to their party to keep tabs on congressional Republicans, as the attention and media coverage was stuck on Comey.

"Keep careful track of what elected Republicans do over the next few days and weeks," Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted Thursday afternoon, referring to Senate Republicans crafting their health care bill behind closed doors. "This will define their careers and their legacies."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

MORE FROM

Bernie Sanders call for health bill delay on 'Meet the Press'

A call to postpone the vote on the Senate's health care bill till after the July 4 holiday recess has bipartisan support.

President Trump responds to Obama's criticism of Senate health care plan

On 'Fox and Friends,' President Trump claims he actually agrees with Obama on something.

Report: Rex Tillerson may drop Iraq, Myanmar from child soldiers list

Tillerson overruled his own staff, who said neither country has actually stopped using child soldiers.

Donald Trump is now blaming Obama for Russian election interference

Trump tweeted Obama "choked" on Russia, adding he thinks Obama was trying to protect Hillary Clinton.

Former Obama defense official: Russia hacks are "political equivalent of 9/11"

"I don't see much evidence of a response," Vickers added.

Groups spending millions to defeat Senate health care bill: "We win or lose over the next week"

"We've been hearing Republicans talk about repeal for seven years. It comes down to these next seven days."

Bernie Sanders call for health bill delay on 'Meet the Press'

A call to postpone the vote on the Senate's health care bill till after the July 4 holiday recess has bipartisan support.

President Trump responds to Obama's criticism of Senate health care plan

On 'Fox and Friends,' President Trump claims he actually agrees with Obama on something.

Report: Rex Tillerson may drop Iraq, Myanmar from child soldiers list

Tillerson overruled his own staff, who said neither country has actually stopped using child soldiers.

Donald Trump is now blaming Obama for Russian election interference

Trump tweeted Obama "choked" on Russia, adding he thinks Obama was trying to protect Hillary Clinton.

Former Obama defense official: Russia hacks are "political equivalent of 9/11"

"I don't see much evidence of a response," Vickers added.

Groups spending millions to defeat Senate health care bill: "We win or lose over the next week"

"We've been hearing Republicans talk about repeal for seven years. It comes down to these next seven days."