Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, November 15, 2013.
1. House GOP's Obamacare fix. A White House plan that would allow insurance companies to continue the cancelled policies of millions of Americans didn't stop House Republicans from pushing through their own fix. The "Keep Your Health Plan Act," sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Michigan, passed 261-157. The measure not only allows individuals to keep their cancelled plans, but also gives new customers the chance to buy plans that don't meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. Upton argued his measure would restore President Barack Obama's broken promise. "If you like your health care plan you can keep it period," said Upton. "For the last three years, the President repeated this promise in selling his signature law and he did so with the knowledge that it would not be met." But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the Upton bill essentially guts Obamacare. "That idea that it was helping consumers was sort of the Trojan horse whose underbelly is poisonous ... in terms of the health and well-being of the American people." The White House says the President will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
2. Has the bleeding stopped? President Barack Obama's insurance fix appears to have headed off a feared defection of House Democrats in favor of the Upton bill. Only 39 Democrats ended up voting for the measure. Earlier in the week there was concern that as many as 100 Democrats might support the legislation.
3. What about Senate Dems? Several of them, especially those up for re-election in 2014, still don't want to rely on the White House's proposed fix to help people keep their cancelled insurance plans. A bill sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, would allow plans that don't comply with Obamacare to continue indefinitely, while a measure sponsored by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, would allow a two-year extension. “We will probably need legislation to make it stick," Landrieu said of President Barack Obama's plan. "However, do not underestimate the power of a presidential directive and don’t underestimate the willingness of insurance commissioners around this country – Republican and Democrat – to make this right for people.” Clearly the war over Obamacare isn't over. Will Republicans prevail? Will Democrats stand with the President? The chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, and House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, join State of the Union Sunday.
4. Diplomatic dance with Iran. Although there's no deal yet to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons, the White House is trying to keep Congress from voting for new and tougher sanctions that could derail a potential agreement. "My message to Congress has been that let's see if this short-term, phase-one deal can be completed to our satisfaction where we're absolutely certain that while we're talking to the Iranians, they're not busy advancing their program." Is that good enough for America’s closest Middle East ally? Find out when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins State of the Union for a Sunday exclusive.