March 2, 2017

Top Stories

Democrats Call On Sessions To Resign Over Meetings With Russian Ambassador

The Gist: Following the revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice while he was a surrogate for President Donald Trump's campaign, Democratic lawmakers called on Sessions to step down.

Report: $20M DHS Has Found For Wall Not Enough To Even Start Construction

The Gist: President Donald Trump may want to use existing funds to build his U.S.-Mexico border wall, but the money the Department of Homeland Security has drummed up so far wouldn’t cover the cost of a single inch.

What's To Hide? House GOP Panel Viewing Obamacare Bill In Secret

The Gist: Republicans on a House committee with jurisdiction over the Obamacare repeal legislation will be viewing the current version of the bill in secret in a basement room of a office building adjoining the Capitol Thursday.

From The Reporter's Notebook

Former George W. Bush aide Karl Rove said Wednesday that Democrats' less-than-enthusiastic responses to President Donald Trump's speech to Congress "affected his delivery," TPM's Esme Cribb wrote. "You could tell it affected his delivery a little bit," Rove said Wednesday in an interview on Fox Business Network. "He started reading almost exclusively from the panel to his left, which allowed him to look at the right side of the chamber, which were the Republicans."

Agree or Disagree?

Josh Marshall: "Why are there so many unforced errors? Why conceal this meeting? Frankly, why lie about it? As I said, big, big scandals work like this. People who don't even appear to be that close to the action keep getting pulled under for what seem like needless deceptions. The answer is usually that the stuff at the center of the scandal is so big that it requires concealment, even about things distant from the main action, things that it would seem much better and less damaging simply to admit."

Say What?!

"It is a syndrome. There is no question, there is a disease associated with the notion that a bunch of women would wear bad-looking white pantsuits in solidarity with Hillary Clinton to celebrate her loss. You cannot get that weird."

- Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) knocked the "poorly-dressed" women of the House Democrats who wore white pantsuits to President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, according to Politico.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive

From a TPM Prime member: "Medicaid is an entitlement (which I explain above and elsewhere) and, again as a non-lawyer, I do not think that entitlements passed with 60 votes, can be stripped away or changed in reconciliation. Today's GOP has an article of faith that entitlements are susceptible to reconciliation votes. There are 2 conflicting cases in the courts on this subject, neither on the core issue of taking an entitlement away from a citizen (what the Medicaid block grant lawsuit would be about). The first is the case (now postponed) in which the GOP House did not appropriate the copay subsidies for the very poor in the exchanges and the Obama administration paid them anyway because it thought them to be an entitlement. The court gave the GOP House standing and found in their favor in the first round of litigation, but allowed the copay subsidies to continue being paid. Here the subsidies are paid to a contracting health plan and the health plan is contractually obligated to pay them even if they are not themselves paid. Secretary Price will destabilize the exchanges next year if he does not figure out how to pay these subsidies since the health plans are unlikely to sign up for this unfunded obligation. The second case is about the socialism for health plans, or reinsurance shock absorbers, that was in ACA. Here Senator Rubio prohibited the Obama administration from paying some of ACA's health plan socialism payments and the Admin only paid about half of them. Many health plans have sued and the first one won, with a summary judgment, and is now collecting past due socialism payments.The rest of the cases are expected to have a similar result. Most of the shock absorbers are expiring and Secretary Price will have to figure out how to get some or all of them back into place if he wants exchange participation. There is language in some House budget bill to do this. "

Related: THIS CHART: How GOP O'Care Plan Shifts Tax Credits From The Poor To The Rich

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What We're Reading

Leaked emails reveal Snapchat asked anti-gun charity for money to keep NRA ads off its videos (Mic)

No, We're Not Living In A Simulation (The Outline)