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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 GrahamComey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee Overnight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Graham: There are 'no good choices left' with North Korea 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 TrumpDonald TrumpFirst 100 days: A true reflection of Trump, poor reflection of America Fox poll: Trump approval below 50 percent Pelosi gives Trump an incomplete for first 100 days MORE'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: http://bit.ly/2lAyOve
What's happening: "Thus far Mike LeeMike LeeObamaCare must be fixed before it collapses Trump signs order to end 'egregious abuse' of national monuments Trump takes aim at Obama monuments MORE and John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Disconnect: Trump, GOP not on same page MORE have asked more substantive Qs of Rachel Brand than Dems, except for [Russia] hack." http://bit.ly/2nb1CXw
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.'" http://bit.ly/2mTkrCL
#TERRIFICARE #YUUUGECARE #INCREDICARE #MAGACARE: Republicans have finally unveiled their long-awaited ObamaCare replacement plan. Dun, dun, dunnn. http://bit.ly/2lA9Ufu 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 http://bit.ly/2lYnFR7
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. http://bit.ly/2lSTaLT
REPUBLICAN REACTION -- EHHHHH, LUKEWARM AT BEST:
Late this A.M. -- A happy Oval Office: The Trump administration on Tuesday formally backed the plan late this morning. Earlier, President Trump tweeted: "Our wonderful new Healthcare Bill is now out for review and negotiation. ObamaCare is a complete and total disaster - is imploding fast!" http://bit.ly/2mTbedw
Good vibes from Republican leadership: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin BradyNot too shabby: Trump tax plan nails corporate rate, errs on income Overnight Finance: Inside Trump's tax plan | White House mulls order pulling out of NAFTA | New fight over Dodd-Frank begins GOP leaders, top tax writers: Trump principles will be 'critical guideposts' 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 RyanPoll: Trump voters have positive opinion of president Overnight Regulation: Senators call for 'cost-effective' regs | FCC chief unveils plans to roll back net neutrality Overnight Tech: FCC chief unveils plan for net neutrality rollback | Tech on Trump's sweeping tax plan | Cruz looks to boost space industry MORE (R-Wis.) vowed the GOP's plan will "give every American access to quality, affordable health insurance." http://bit.ly/2lA9Ufu
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: http://bit.ly/2n1DWWu
Also, Rand PaulRand PaulDestructive 'fat cat' tax law a complete flop. It's time to repeal it. Trump must take action in Macedonia to fix damage done by Obama and Clinton We can put America first by preventing public health disasters 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. http://bit.ly/2lYyXVq
Yikes: Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzChaffetz to have surgery, will miss several weeks in Washington Overnight Finance: Inside Trump's tax plan | White House mulls order pulling out of NAFTA | New fight over Dodd-Frank begins Oversight Dems want vote on Trump tax return bill 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: http://bit.ly/2lTf15G
DEMOCRATIC REACTION -- BURN IT AT THE STAKE:
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." http://bit.ly/2mB9kh1
In the Senate: Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerLawmakers push one-week stopgap funding bill Cruz: 'Schumer and the Democrats want a shutdown' GOP fundraiser enters crowded primary for Pa. Senate seat 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." http://bit.ly/2mxb4HI
WHAT'S NEXT: EXPECT THIS --> http://bit.ly/2lTqjH9 ;)
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. http://bit.ly/2lA9Ufu
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." http://bit.ly/2naA3h9
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) http://bit.ly/2mxFYjo
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." http://bit.ly/2naWqTK
IN OTHER NEWS...:
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. http://bit.ly/2mi56du
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: http://bit.ly/2mBffCV
Oh hey, HRC: When Trump appears on the tour, there happens to be a painting of Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonObama's speech proves hypocrisy of Democrat's anti-Wall Street rhetoric Lawmakers targeted as district politics shift Want a tremendous deal on infrastructure spending? Suspend Davis-Bacon MORE behind him. She sees you when you're sleeping. She knows when you're awake. http://bit.ly/2mBfA8J
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 http://bit.ly/2mSGbP7
Ben Sasse, Could you pass legislation requiring teachers to allow students to watch basketball during March Madness? Asking for a friend. http://bit.ly/2lAfWwp
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) responds
am trying to add it to the healthcare bill http://bit.ly/2lAmR8S
BuzzFeed's Ali Watkins
Spotted: NSA Director Mike Rogers at Senate Intel. Lots of people in and out this week. http://bit.ly/2lACwVZ
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 CottonTom CottonOvernight Cybersecurity: White House adviser ditches cyber panel over 'fake news' | Trump cyber order 'close' | GOP senator pushes for clean renewal of foreign intel law Overnight Tech: Dem wants to see FCC chief's net neutrality plans | New agency panel on telecom diversity | Trump calls NASA astronaut GOP senator pushes for clean reauthorization of foreign intel law 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. http://benjerrys.co/2mx0tMT
WHAT TO WATCH:
1:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Sean Spicer gives the daily press briefing. Note: Unlike yesterday, this one is on-camera!
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
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: http://bzfd.it/2mx7xcn
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. http://bit.ly/2lAo14B
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