March 21, 2017

Top Stories

The 7 Biggest Cons In The GOP's Obamacare Repeal Pitch

The Gist: In the face of bad reviews from health care policy experts, the insurance industry and providers, and a revolt from some members of their own caucus, Republican leaders are scrambling to sell their Obamacare replacement bill by employing a boat loads of half-truths, inaccuracies, contradictions and metaphors.

Paul Ryan: Some Freedom Caucus Members Are Voting For Repeal Bill

The Gist: After Republican leaders in the House unveiled changes to the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare on Monday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) indicated that at least some of the members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus were on board with the legislation.

Ivanka Trump Set To Get Office In White House

The Gist: Ivanka Trump is planning to start working out of an office in the West Wing, though she will not get a salary or receive an official role in her father's administration.

From The Reporter's Notebook

President Donald Trump on Monday night omitted any mention of FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, opting instead to rehash talking points from the campaign trail, TPM's Esme Cribb reported. He brought up his upset win in the Electoral College; said the situation in North Korea is "disgraceful and not smart, not smart at all"; and pledged to "drain the swamp of government corruption in Washington, D.C.," just days after he nominated yet another Goldman Sachs alumnus to a senior position in his administration.

Agree or Disagree?

Josh Marshall: "As I argued early this month, the CIA and FBI almost certainly knew years before Trump became a presidential candidate that he had deep business ties to members of the Russian criminal underworld and significant reliance on money from the former Soviet Union to fund his business ventures. Before Trump became a possible President this probably didn't matter all that much. He was flashy real estate developer and a reality tv star. He may have had some protection if he had some long-standing relationship with the FBI. But all of this would have taken on greater significance as he made his improbable move from reality tv clown to possible president. I believe this is the backdrop through which we must see everything prior to the summer of 2016. By July, there was probably enough, probably more than enough to start an investigation. Remember, conspiracy theories aside, everyone involved – NSA, FBI, CIA, DOJ – likely would have been quite skittish about getting even close to the national election. At some time in July, there was enough smoke to overcome those concerns."

Say What?!

"Certainly we shouldn’t have left. We should never ever have left. And a vacuum was created, and we discussed what happened.”

- Contrary to a series of past statements on the issue, President Donald Trump said Monday that the U.S. military “should never ever have left” Iraq in 2011.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive

From a TPM Prime member: "When a party seeks to pass a bill through reconciliation, a Senator may object to the bill based upon its not being suitable for reconciliation under the Senate's rules. For example, an objection might be made that a provision of the bill goes beyond spending and revenue -- such as objecting that the defunding of Planned Parenthood is not a spending provision, because it targets a specific Medicaid provider rather than being addressed to budgetary issues. The Senate's parliamentarian then makes a ruling based upon Senate rules, and may find that a bill or provision of the bill cannot be passed by reconciliation. A number of Senators, including Ted Cruz, have taken the position that if the Democrats object to the bill, and the parliamentarian upholds the objection, they can ask Mike Pence, sitting as president pro tempore of the Senate, to issue a ruling on the parliamentarian's ruling -- and that he has the ultimate authority to issue and independent decision that overrules the parliamentarian and would allow the bill to go to a vote based upon a simple majority. Although some Democrats have correctly responded that such an approach essentially eliminates the filibuster, I would not be even slightly surprised to see the Republicans use such an approach -- and Ryan seems to have included some provisions in the bill that he knows aren't appropriate for reconciliation (such as the Planned Parenthood provision) because he anticipates that Pence will bend(/break) the rules."

Related: Cruz: GOP's 'Three-Bucket' Repeal And Replace Plan 'Ain't Gonna Happen'

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What We're Reading

French literary boy wonder Édouard Louis on saving the working class from Marine Le Pen (The Guardian)

A Brief History Of Driving While Black (BuzzFeed)