A new health care amendment, authored by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ 03), has House Republicans cautiously optimistic about repealing Obamacare. The new language would “would allow states to obtain waivers to opt out of certain fundamental Obamacare provisions if they demonstrate they could lower premiums, increase the number of insured people, stabilize the insurance market or increase the number of health plans offered.” (Politico)
But several vulnerable Republicans were loath to commit:
CA-10: Rep. Jeff Denham (R) said he will not support the legislation. (Washington Post)
CO-06: Rep. Mike Coffman (R) “who backed an earlier version of the proposal, said he’s now undecided.” (Politico)
FL-26: Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) “said he wants a ‘thorough analysis’ of the new measure before he decides.” (Washington Post)
FL-27: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) is against the bill. (Washington Post)
NJ-07: Rep. Leonard Lance (R) said he’s still opposed to the legislation: “I have always campaigned on making sure that no one is denied coverage based on pre-existing condition.” (AP)
PA-06: Rep. Ryan Costello (R), “who had previously indicated concerns about the bill, said he would have to think ‘long and hard’ about the new amendment and the change to let states get a waiver from some of the health care law’s most onerous requirements.” (Roll Call)
PA-08: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R), who withheld support from the last version of the health care repeal, will again vote against this version. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
VA-10: Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) said she will also vote against the new proposal. She was also opposed to the prior version. (Washington Post)
ON THE ISSUES. “Top Democratic lawmakers dismissed the White House tax reform package that was announced Wednesday as a plan that would increase the budget deficit, and lower tax rates most aggressively for the wealthy.” (Washington Examiner)
“American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, an organization aligned with the Democratic Party, is funding an ambitious plan aimed at bombarding voters with the message that Trump’s team is connected to the Kremlin. Their challenge is convincing voters they should care at a time when the public is far more moved by pocketbook issues than an alleged scandal with little clear effect on their lives.” (McClatchy)
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"The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed sweeping bipartisan opioid legislation, concluding the chamber’s two-week voteathon on dozens of bills to address the drug abuse epidemic. The measure combines more than 50 bills approved individually by the House focusing on expanding access to treatment, encouraging the development of alternative pain treatments and curbing the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. It was passed 396-14, with 13 Republicans and one Democrat voting against the package."
In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Trump wrote that he's continuing the national emergency status with respect to North Korea, citing the country's “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions," which "continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. In a series of tweets following his meeting with Kim Jong-un, Trump said Americans could sleep well at night because North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.
"The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona, escalating the military’s task in implementing President Donald Trump’s 'zero tolerance' policy for people caught crossing the Southern border." The document outlines plans for "temporary and austere" internment camps for 25,000 migrants "at abandoned airfields just outside the Florida panhandle," and in Alabama, for 47,000 people near San Francisco, and "as many as 47,000 people at Camp Pendleton" in California. The document estimates that operating a camp to detain 25,000 people for six months would cost approximately $233 million.
"Lasers have targeted pilots of American military aircraft operating over the western Pacific Ocean more than 20 times in recent months," said U.S. officials. The lasers appeared to be coming from Chinese fishing boats in the South China Sea, said the officials, which is the setting of a "long-running dispute between China and Japan over the control of nearby islands ... The incidents likely will come up as part of a broader discussion of issues when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visits Beijing next week and meets Chinese President Xi Jinping."
"President Donald Trump has unveiled a new policy that depicts the world’s oceans as a resource ripe for expanded business opportunities, reversing the Obama administration's emphasis on protecting 'vulnerable' marine environments." Rather than emphasizing environmental protection, as Obama's policy did, "Trump’s directive speaks mostly to the oceans as a resource for promoting national security" and creating jobs.