The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Breakdown of the GOP ObamaCare plan | Republicans divided | Trump surprised WH tour | WikiLeaks publishes CIA hacking docs | DOJ nominee on the hot seat over Russia | Trump lunching with Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamQuestions mount over Trump-Putin discussions The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Overnight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria MORE (!) | National Pancake Day

ATTENTION, SENATORS -- WHERE TO AIR YOUR JEFF SESSIONS RUSSIA GRIEVANCES (SORRY, ROD AND RACHEL): Deputy Attorney General nominee Rod Rosenstein and Associate Attorney General nominee Rachel Brand are on the hot seat today at their confirmation hearings. Why this is so newsy: With Attorney General Jeff Sessions's decision to recuse himself from any investigations into Russia's connections to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, focus is turning to the Department of Justice's secondary leaders. They are likely to face sharp questions about how they might handle investigations into Russia's interference in the 2016 election or ties to the Trump campaign. Latest updates:

What's happening: "Thus far Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWisconsin GOP Senate candidate rips his own parents for donations to Dems GOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE MORE and John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Senate GOP attempts to wave Trump off second Putin summit Senators push to clear backlog in testing rape kits MORE have asked more substantive Qs of Rachel Brand than Dems, except for [Russia] hack."

That's a fun question to answer: "[Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)] asks Rosenstein whether he could handle probes w/ "political bent" even though he's been appointed by Trump. 'Absolutely, senator.'"

It's Tuesday. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to and on Facebook.

#TERRIFICARE #YUUUGECARE #INCREDICARE #MAGACARE: Republicans have finally unveiled their long-awaited ObamaCare replacement plan. Dun, dun, dunnn. What to know: 

The gist of the replacement plan: Tax credits to help people buy insurance; ending the Medicaid expansion and restructuring the rest of the program; tax cuts; ending the mandates.

The fine print of those tax credits: Individuals would be given a tax credit to help purchase insurance. How much: It would range from $2,000 to $4,000 a year, increasing with someone's age. That amount is limited over a certain income though. What that means: That system would provide less financial assistance for low-income and older people than ObamaCare but could give more assistance to younger people and those with somewhat higher incomes.

What will be dismantled: Subsidies to help people buy coverage; expansion of Medicaid; ObamaCare taxes, including the medical device tax and health insurance tax; the mandate for people to have insurance. 

The one ObamaCare tax that won't be dismantled: The new plan would allow ObamaCare's "Cadillac tax" on high-cost health plans to take effect in 2025. Why: They're not about that deficit life 

Does that mean fewer people will be covered?: Yes, Republicans acknowledge that it covers fewer people because they are not forcing people to buy coverage like the ObamaCare mandate. Their reasoning: They say their system is less intrusive and provides people a tax credit without mandates or a range of tax increases. But keep in mind: A CBO score hasn't come out yet.

Is employer-sponsored health insurance affected?: No. Earlier drafts of the Republican bill suggested a new tax on some employer-sponsored health insurance. However, they didn't go through with that.

How does this affect people short-term?: The repeal of the Medicaid expansion and ObamaCare's subsidies would not take effect until 2020, meaning current enrollees could keep their coverage this year.

How this affects people with pre-existing conditions: The new legislation protects people with pre-existing conditions, who still cannot be denied coverage by insurers. How to pay for that: The GOP plan allows insurers to charge 30 percent higher premiums to enrollees who have had a gap in coverage. I.e.: If you're healthy and try to beat the system until you're sick, you'll pay through the teeth. 

What about Planned Parenthood?: The repeal bill would defund Planned Parenthood for a year. What that means: It would block the organization from receiving Medicaid reimbursements.

Full text -- if you're into that kinda thing: Energy and Commerce --> and Ways and Means Committee -->


Late this A.M. -- A happy Oval Office: The Trump administration on Tuesday formally backed the plan late this morning. Earlier, President TrumpDonald John TrumpWSJ: Trump ignored advice to confront Putin over indictments Trump hotel charging Sean Spicer ,000 as book party venue Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin MORE tweeted: "Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster - is imploding fast!"

Good vibes from Republican leadership: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradySenate panel advances Trump IRS nominee GOP looks to blunt Dems’ attacks on rising premiums Meet the woman who is Trump's new emissary to Capitol Hill MORE (R-Texas) said he's confident the legislation will pass with solid Republican support despite recent party infighting over the details. Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanInterior fast tracks study of drilling's Arctic impact: report Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia National Dems make play in Ohio special election MORE (R-Wis.) vowed the GOP's plan will "give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance."

Freedom Caucus is not sold on it: House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) has his concerns. "The biggest concern I have is, will it lower healthcare costs?" he asked on Fox News's "Hannity." His reasoning:

Also, Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia GOP leader blocks resolution backing intelligence community on Russia Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump MORE's not a fan: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says the House GOP will not pass because it is too similar to the original healthcare law. "The House leadership plan is Obamacare Lite. It will not pass. Conservarives are not going to take it," Paul tweeted, adding a call for full repeal of ObamaCare.

Yikes: Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzTucker Carlson: Ruling class cares more about foreigners than their own people Fox's Kennedy chides Chaffetz on child migrants: 'I’m sure these mini rapists all have bombs strapped to their chests' After FBI cleared by IG report, GOP must reform itself MORE (R-Utah) said: "And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own healthcare." Watch


In the House: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said this morning, "This will make millions of people -- it's a question of 10, 15, 20 million people -- off of having health insurance ... it will be the biggest transfer of wealth from low and middle income people to wealthy people in our country. ... It couldn't be worse."

In the Senate: Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerData confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue Pollster: Kavanaugh will get Dem votes Democrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans MORE (D-N.Y.) slammed the Republican plan. "This bill is a giveaway to the wealthy and insurance companies at the expense of American families, and Senate Democrats will work hard to see that it is defeated." 


Timing: The House is planning to quickly push the measure through committee votes this week (!) House Republicans plan to take up the legislation with two committees -- Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means -- scheduled to hold votes on Wednesday. A vote in the full House is expected to soon follow, within weeks. I.e.: Buckle up

Analysis of next steps from The Hill's Bob Cusack: "Getting ObamaCare bill through Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce looks like it won't be tough though the floor battle will be brutal."

Then a whirlwind in the Senate: "Senate had never planned to do markups on Obamacare repeal bill -- if it passes House, will go straight to the Senate floor" (From Politico's Jennifer Haberkorn)

Analysis from The Weekly Standard's Jay Cost: "Assume no Democratic support. The set of repeal/replace bills that can win 218 House GOPers and 50 Senate GOPers is probably null." 



RELEASED THIS A.M. -- THE CIA IS NOT A GROUP I'D FEEL COMFORTABLE HACKING. JUST SAYING...: WikiLeaks has published a massive CIA hacking document archive. The details: The documents contain descriptions of hacking tools, engineering notes, internal communications and more. The release did not immediately appear to have included the tools themselves, and agent names have been redacted.

PEEK-A-BOOOOOO: President Trump this morning surprised the first group to take a tour of the White House during his presidency. The crowd of people burst into cheers at the sight of Trump, who gestured for them to come toward him. Video:

Oh hey, HRC: When Trump appears on the tour, there happens to be a painting of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin Anti-Trump protests outside White House continue into fifth night Opera singers perform outside White House during fourth day of protests MORE behind him. She sees you when you're sleeping. She knows when you're awake. 



NBC's Brad Jaffy (Series told with photos.)
News cycle 2017: Fox News segment (that did not mention Obama) → Trump tweet (adds Obama) → Dean of Gitmo press corps to Trump: you're wrong 

Isaac Buckner
Ben Sasse, Could you pass legislation requiring teachers to allow students to watch basketball during March Madness? Asking for a friend.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) responds
am trying to add it to the healthcare bill

BuzzFeed's Ali Watkins
Spotted: NSA Director Mike Rogers at Senate Intel. Lots of people in and out this week.



The House and Senate are in.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) Just imagining this lunch is getting me through the day. Oh to be a fly on that wall!

1:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonBipartisan group introduces retirement savings legislation in Senate Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war Hillicon Valley: DOJ appeals AT&T-Time Warner ruling | FBI agent testifies in heated hearing | Uproar after FCC changes rules on consumer complaints | Broadcom makes bid for another US company | Facebook under fire over conspiracy sites MORE (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) for a policy discussion.

3:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with the House deputy whip team in the East Room of the White House.

4:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

5 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with the Boy Scouts of America.

5 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence holds a bilateral meeting with Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman. 

6:30 p.m. EST: The House votes.

11:30 a.m. EST Wednesday: International Women's Day rally in front of the White House.

3:30 p.m. EST Wednesday: Another International Women's Day rally -- this one is in front of the Department of Labor.

April 4: Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's from noon to 8 p.m.



1:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing. Note: Unlike yesterday, this one is on-camera!



Today is National Pancake Day!

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE AGAIN -- OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT PHOTOS: Remember when the White House accused the press of lying about crowd sizes at inauguration? Well, BuzzFeed FOIA'd official photos from the National Park Service. Here are the official government photos of inauguration:

SNOW DAYS ARE OLD NEWS: All schools in Alexandria, Va., right outside of Washington, D.C., will be closed tomorrow for "A Day Without A Woman" because of limited staff.


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