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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: GOP zeroes in on changes to health bill | Trump says 'ObamaCare is dead' | Merkel at the WH | Tillerson puts military action against North Korea on the table
BREAKING -- IT'S DEAD TO ME. DEAD TO ME, I TELL YA!: President Trump this morning declared his "100 percent" commitment to the GOP's ObamaCare repeal plan. "I want people to know ObamaCare is dead, it's a dead healthcare plan," Trump said in the Oval Office during a meeting with conservative lawmakers. What to know about the meeting: This morning, Trump met with conservative members of the House who have raised concerns about House GOP leaders' American Health Care Act. The president said he had successfully wooed the conservative lawmakers who met with him to back the bill. http://bit.ly/2n6419a
WE HAVE A FEW CHANGES: The White House today won support from key conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) members who met with the president by agreeing to give states the option to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients and the option to block grant Medicaid instead of the cap system in the bill, GOP sources said. Also: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price privately told House Republicans in a closed-door meeting that changes could include alterations to tax credits and the optional Medicaid work requirements. But hold on: Members of the House Freedom Caucus are still not on board. "Absolutely not true that conservatives have flipped to yes on the health care bill," tweeted Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe Hill's Whip List: Who to watch on GOP's new ObamaCare bill Oversight Dems want vote on Trump tax return bill Greens take climate fight to GOP town halls MORE (R-Mich.). http://bit.ly/2mQIijy
VOTE TIMING: "House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says "late votes are likely" next Thursday as House takes up Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan."(From The Hill's Cristina Marcos http://bit.ly/2nzTG3t
Top of the morning to ya and a Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm Cate O'Martel (heh) with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and your finest loaf of soda bread to email@example.com, @CateMartel and on Facebook.
DON'T MESS, NORTH KOREA -- PEW, PEW *KARATE CHOP*: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in South Korea on Friday that U.S. military force is an option for dealing with North Korea's pursuit of advanced missiles and nuclear weapons, warning "the policy of strategic patience" is over. "We're exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures," Tillerson said in Seoul. "All options are on the table." http://bit.ly/2nMoU6w
ALSO ON THAT TRIP: Via The Korea Herald, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cut short his recent visit with South Korean officials due to "fatigue." What he did in South Korea: Tillerson spent several hours meeting with Japanese officials, which included dinner meetings, and held talks with South Korean officials regarding the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear program. What he didn't do: He did not have lunch or dinner with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn during his visit. http://bit.ly/2nvjCjI
YOU'RE DONE HERE. AND YOU'RE DONE -- NO ONE EVEN LIKES YOU ANYWAY: Via The Hill's Sylvan Lane, President Trump's budget blueprint proposes eliminating 19 federal agencies. Here's a list and quick run-down of the 19: http://bit.ly/2nMcpYO
*IMAGINES WALTER HOBBS FROM 'ELF' TO UNDERSTAND THIS STORY*: The White House is defending proposed cuts to programs for the elderly, minorities and the poor in the president's first budget blueprint. "I think it's compassionate to say we're not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore, single mom of two in Detroit. ... We're not going to do that anymore unless we can guarantee to you that money is being used in a proper function. That's about as compassionate as you can get," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Thursday. http://bit.ly/2mzEotq
WHERE WE STAND ON THE 'WIRETAPPING' THING -- SEE, I USED QUOTES! ;) : Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, the "wiretapping" controversy is driving a wedge between President Trump and some of his staunchest allies on Capitol Hill. Many Republicans are showing a willingness to break with Trump over the issue, with few providing cover to help him defend his accusations. Why this is bad timing: Republicans wish all this talk was about the ObamaCare repeal and the budget. http://bit.ly/2nzhRyE
The Washington Post's Philip Bump
This is a deeply messed-up ad to run at the top of Google results. http://bit.ly/2mzInGx
The Washington Examiner's Philip Klein
Thing I've learned: Never trust lawmaker declarations about what they will and won't support until the votes are actually cast. http://bit.ly/2mCTFe0
The Daily Beast's Justin Miller
What should Secret Service do with rappers pretending to shoot Trump? Fox News host: "Kill them." http://bit.ly/2nzP4dx
The Senate is out until Tuesday. The House was in this morning but has already left. Weekend vibes!
Today: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is at the White House today. Merkel and Trump have been in meetings this morning.
4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence holds a bilateral meeting with the Costa Rican president.
This weekend: President Trump heads to the "Winter White House" -- Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Fla.
WHAT TO WATCH:
1:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint press conference. Live stream: http://bit.ly/2m9Vgvu
5 p.m. EDT Sunday: MSNBC is airing a special on the battle for the Supreme Court hosted by Ari Melber, discussing President Trump's nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch on the eve of his Senate confirmation hearing.
SUNDAY SHOW GUESTS:
"Fox News Sunday": House 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.); Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). The panel will include Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush; the Center for American Progress's Neera Tanden; Fox's Rachel Campos-Duffy; and Georgetown University's Mo Elleithee.
NBC's "Meet the Press": Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney; Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffRussia investigation 'back on track' after Nunes recusal 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 Kaine, Schiff press Trump on legal justification for Syria strike MORE (D-Calif.). The panel will include The Washington Post's Robert Costa; BBC's Katty Kay; MSNBC's Joy Reid; and syndicated columnist George F. Will.
CBS's "Face the Nation": Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzOvernight Defense: Senators go to White House for North Korea briefing | Admiral takes 'hit' for aircraft carrier mixup | Lawmakers urged to beef up US missile defense Senators get North Korea briefing in unusual WH visit 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-Texas); House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. The panel will include The Wall Street Journal's Kim Stressel;The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg; and The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus and Ed O'Keefe.
CNN's "State of the Union": Sen. 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.). The panel will include Democratic strategist Bakari Sellers; Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnRyan praises FCC chief's plans to roll back net neutrality A bipartisan drum beat for music artists’ performance rights FCC head unveils plan to roll back net neutrality MORE (R-Tenn.); Jen Psaki, President Obama's former communications director; and Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint"
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day!
HAPPENING NOW -- AND BECAUSE YOU WORK TOO HARD: The St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City is happening now! Here's a live stream to feel like you're there. Watch: http://ti.me/2n5Z809
And to get your weekend off to a great start, here's a hilariously cute 5-year-old schooling Ellen DeGeneres on geography. http://bit.ly/2mWIGyG
Now go drink a mighty pint of Guinness and Irish stepdance the night away. Luck of the Irish to you, lads!
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