GOP health-care push up in the air after key senators threaten to withdraw their support

By Juliet Eilperin, Kelsey Snell and Sean Sullivan BREAKING: The plan by Senate GOP leaders to pass a more modest rollback of Obamacare was threatened Thursday night when key Republican senators said they would not support that effort without assurances that it would become the basis of negotiations with the House. Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said their support for “skinny repeal” would not be used to trigger a hasty vote on such legislation by the House before it heads home for recess. Many conservatives in both chambers object to the bare-bones plan being crafted by Senate GOP leaders because it does not… Read More

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Spokesman: Trump may veto Russia sanctions bill

By Karoun Demirjian | Washington Post WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s spokesman suggested Thursday that Trump may veto a massively popular bill designed to restrain his ability to roll back sanctions against Russia, despite the very strong likelihood that lawmakers will have the votes to override it. White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said on CNN that Trump “may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians,” citing Trump’s “counterintuitive, counterpunching personality” to explain why the president is considering a veto. It is unlikely that promise will resonate well with members of Congress, many of… Read More

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The Perils of Prediction in the Age of Trump

More than two years ago, soon after Donald Trump entered the presidential race, I noted online that no one like him—with no political, military, judicial, or public-service experience, with no known expertise on policy matters, with a trail of financial and personal complications—had ever before become president. Therefore, I said, it wasn’t going to happen this time. Quite obviously that was wrong. Penitent and determined to learn from my errors, I’ve avoided any predictions involving Trump and his circles ever since. But a few days ago, I edged back into the danger zone, after my very first look of the just-named White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, on TV. Via… Read More

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Military to Trump: We won’t do a transgender ban until forced

President Trump’s joint chiefs said Thursday that there would be be “no modifications” for now to the military’s policy of allowing capable individuals to serve, seemingly defying the president’s tweets earlier this week declaring a transgender ban. Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, wrote in a message to the chiefs of the services and senior enlisted leaders that the military will continue to “treat all of our personnel with respect.” “I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President,” Dunford wrote in the message, a copy of which was published by POLITICO. “There will be no modifications to… Read More

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Dionne: The two serious threats to our republic’s health

The news is being reported on split screen as if the one big story in Washington is disconnected from the other. But President Trump’s lawless threats against Attorney General Jeff Sessions have a lot in common with the Senate’s reckless approach to the health coverage of tens of millions of Americans. On both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, we are witnessing a collapse of the norms of governing, constant violations of our legitimate expectations of political leaders, and the mutation of the normal conflicts of democracy into a form of warfare that demands the opposition’s unconditional surrender. Trump’s latest perverse miracle is that he has progressives — along with everyone else… Read More

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Conservative Groups Fume Over Failed Repeal Votes

On Wednesday afternoon, the Senate failed to pass legislation that would have repealed major parts of the Affordable Care Act, including the law’s individual and employer mandates, the Medicaid expansion, tax credits, and taxes. It was the same measure that passed the Senate through reconciliation in 2015 and was ultimately vetoed by President Obama. After failing to pass the Obamacare replacement plan during a vote late on Tuesday night, the Senate moved on to the repeal-only vote. This time around, repeal could only afford to lose two senators, and it did. Actually, it lost seven, including three who had voted for repeal bill in 2015. Conservative groups see the vote’s… Read More

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The Skinny Repeal Gets a Score

With eight hours left of debate in the , “repealing the individual mandate would increase premiums and do nothing about deductibles.” The law would decrease coverage and increase costs, but would dismantle none of the insurance regulations and few of the taxes that Republicans have rallied against for seven years. A bipartisan group of governors, including Republicans John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, John Kasich of Ohio, and Phil Scott of Vermont, wrote a joint letter Wednesday criticizing the skinny repeal along those lines, saying the law is “expected to accelerate health plans leaving the individual market, increase premiums, and result in fewer Americans… Read More

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Trump falls to new low of 25% approval rate in California poll

Only one in four Californians think President Donald Trump is doing a good job in the Oval Office, a poll released Wednesday found — the lowest approval rate in the state so far in Trump’s six-month presidency. Previous polls conducted by the same organization, the Public Policy Institute of California, found Trump at 30 percent approval among adult residents in January, 31 percent in March, and 27 percent in May. Nationally, 37 percent of respondents to the latest national Gallup tracking poll approve of Trump’s job performance. Survey respondents said in follow-up interviews with the Bay Area News Group that they weren’t surprised Trump was so disliked in the Golden… Read More

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A Long-Time Senate Staffer, on John McCain

I’ve had my say about John McCain’s decision to support the rushed consideration of the Republican drive to repeal Obamacare. Installment one was here, and two was here. The theme of both was that McCain missed a historic opportunity to match the scolding-and-uplift of his much-praised words, about the need to avoid simple fights for partisan victories, with the weight of his actual votes, which in the crucial showdown this week supported just such partisan warfare. Now Mike Lofgren, who spent 28 years as a Congressional staffer mainly working for Republicans, and has since then become a noted author of The Party Is Over and The Deep State, writes in… Read More

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AP Exclusive: Boy Scouts chief expected a fiery Trump speech

By David Crary | Associated Press NEW YORK — The Boy Scouts of America anticipated President Donald Trump would spark controversy with a politically tinged speech at its national jamboree in West Virginia, but felt obliged to invite him out of respect for his office, its leader said Wednesday in his first public comments on the furor over Trump’s remarks. “If I suggested I was surprised by the president’s comments, I would be disingenuous,” Boy Scouts of America president Randall Stephenson, who’s also the CEO of AT&T, said in a phone call with The Associated Press. Other U.S. presidents have addressed past jamborees with speeches steering clear of partisan politics.… Read More

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