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28 июля, 09:42

Stunned McConnell blames Democrats after crucial health care loss

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed "regret" and "disappointment" immediately after the GOP failed to pass a minimalist Obamacare repeal bill early Friday, blaming congressional Democrats for not engaging "in a serious way" in the efforts to remedy the health care law."I imagine many of our colleagues on the other side are celebrating, probably pretty happy about this," a stunned seeming McConnell said from the Senate floor. "But the American people are hurting and they need relief."The reconciliation measure, which required a simple-majority to pass in the Senate, ultimately failed as GOP Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins joined Democrats in striking down the bill. The failed vote deals a substantial blow to the Republican Party's efforts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's signature health care bill, a longstanding campaign promise by a many Republicans. In the moments immediately following the vote, however, McConnell thanked his Republican colleagues for their work putting versions of the bill to a vote in both the House and the Senate."I want to thank everybody in this conference for the endless amount of time that they spent trying to achieve a consensus to go forward," McConnell remarked. The Republican senator also thanked President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their work in pushing the bill forward. Pence spent much of the preliminary voting period speaking to and seeking to sway Republican lawmakers in favor of the bill. Despite his party's inability to come together to pass through the legislation, McConnell pinned much of the fault on Senate Democrats."Our friends on the other side decided early on they didn't want to engage with us in a serious way, a serious way to help those suffering under Obamacare," McConnell said.

28 июля, 06:55

Justice Department briefing at White House fuels ethics worries

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Ex-officials question discussion of specific prosecutions in anti-gang drive.

28 июля, 06:18

Full text: Senate 'skinny' Obamacare repeal bill

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The full text of the Senate "skinny" Obamacare repeal bill:AMENDMENT NO.llll Calendar No.lllPurpose: In the nature of a substitute.IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES—115th Cong., 1st Sess.H. R. 1628To provide for reconciliation pursuant to title II of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2017.Referred to the Committee on llllllllll and ordered to be printedOrdered to lie on the table and to be printedAMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE intended to be proposed by lllllllViz:Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following:SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Health Care Freedom Act’’.TITLE ISEC. 101. INDIVIDUAL MANDATE.(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 5000A(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended—(1) in paragraph (2)(B)(iii), by striking ‘‘2.5 percent’’ and inserting ‘‘Zero percent’’, and (2) in paragraph (3)— MCG17700 S.L.C. (A) by striking ‘‘$695’’ in subparagraph (A) and inserting ‘‘$0’’, and (B) by striking subparagraph (D). (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2015.SEC. 102. EMPLOYER MANDATE.(a) IN GENERAL.— (1) Paragraph (1) of section 4980H(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting ‘‘($0 in the case of months beginning after December 31, 2015, and before January 1, 2025)’’ after ‘‘$2,000’’. (2) Paragraph (1) of section 4980H(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting ‘‘($0 in the case of months beginning after December 31, 2015, and before January 1, 2025)’’ after ‘‘$3,000’’. (b) EFFECTIVE DATE. —The amendments made by this section shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2015. MCG17700 S.L.C.SEC. 103. EXTENSION OF MORATORIUM ON MEDICAL DEVICE EXCISE TAX.(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 4191(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking ‘‘December 31, 2017’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2020’’. (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by this section shall apply to sales after December 31, 2017.SEC. 104. MAXIMUM CONTRIBUTION LIMIT TO HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT INCREASED TO AMOUNT OF DEDUCTIBLE AND OUT-OF-POCKET LIMITATION. (a) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (b) of section 223 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph: ‘‘(9) INCREASED LIMITATION.—In the case of any month beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2021—‘‘(A) paragraph (2)(A) shall be applied by substituting ‘the amount in effect under sub-section (c)(2)(A)(ii)(I)’ for ‘$2,250’, and ‘‘(B) paragraph (2)(B) shall be applied by substituting ‘the amount in effect under sub-section (c)(2)(A)(ii)(II)’ for ‘$4,500’.’’. (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. MCG17700 S.L.C.SEC. 105. FEDERAL PAYMENTS TO STATES.(a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding section 504(a), 1902(a)(23), 1903(a), 2002, 2005(a)(4), 2102(a)(7), or 2105(a)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 704(a), 1396a(a)(23), 1396b(a), 1397a, 1397d(a)(4), 1397bb(a)(7), 1397ee(a)(1)), or the terms of any Medicaid waiver in effect on the date of enactment of this Act that is approved under section 1115 or 1915 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1315, 1396n), for the 1-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, no Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity, whether made directly to the prohibited entity or through a managed care organization under contract with the State. b) DEFINITIONS.—In this section: (1) PROHIBITED ENTITY. —The term ‘‘prohibited entity’’ means an entity, including its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, and clinics— (A) that, as of the date of enactment of this Act— (i) is an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code; MCG17700 S.L.C. (ii) is an essential community provider described in section 156.235 of title 45,Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act), that is primarily engaged in family planning services, reproductive health, and related medical care; and (iii) provides for abortions, other than an abortion— (I) if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest; or (II) in the case where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself; and (B) for which the total amount of Federal and State expenditures under the Medicaid program under title XIX of the Social Security Act in fiscal year 2014 made directly to the entity and to any affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, or MCG17700 S.L.C. clinics of the entity, or made to the entity and to any affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, or clinics of the entity as part of a nationwide health care provider network, exceeded $1,000,000. (2) DIRECT SPENDING.—The term ‘‘direct spending’’ has the meaning given that term under section 250(c) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (2 U.S.C. 900(c)).TITLE IISEC. 201. THE PREVENTION AND PUBLIC HEALTH FUND.Subsection (b) of section 4002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 300u–11) is amended—(1) in paragraph (3), by striking ‘‘each of fiscal years 2018 and 2019’’ and inserting ‘‘fiscal year 2018’’; and (2) by striking paragraphs (4) through (8).SEC. 202. COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER PROGRAM.Effective as if included in the enactment of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (Public Law 114–10, 129 Stat. 87), paragraph (1) of section 221(a) of such Act is amended by inserting ‘‘, and an additional $422,000,000 for fiscal year 2017’’ after ‘‘2017’’. MCG17700 S.L.C.SEC. 203. WAIVERS FOR STATE INNOVATION.Section 1332 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (42 U.S.C. 18052) is amended—(1) in subsection (a)(3)— (A) in the first sentence, by inserting ‘‘or would qualify for a reduction in’’ after ‘‘would not qualify for’’; (B) by adding after the second sentence the following: ‘‘A State may request that all of, or any portion of, such aggregate amount of such credits or reductions be paid to the State as described in the first sentence.’’; (C) in the paragraph heading, by striking ‘‘PASS THROUGH OF FUNDING’’ and inserting ‘‘FUNDING’’; (D) by striking ‘‘With respect’’ and inserting the following: ‘‘(A) PASS THROUGH OF FUNDING.—With respect’’; and (E) by adding at the end the following: ‘‘(B) ADDITIONAL FUNDING.—There is authorized to be appropriated, and is appropriated, to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, out of monies in the Treasury not otherwise obligated, $2,000,000,000, to remain available until the end of fiscal year 2019. Such MCG17700 S.L.C. amounts shall be used to provide grants to States that request financial assistance for the purpose of— ‘‘(i) submitting an application for a waiver granted under this section; or ‘‘(ii) implementing the State plan under such waiver.’’; (2) in subsection (b)(1), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A)— (A) by striking ‘‘may’’ and inserting ‘‘shall’’; and (B) by striking ‘‘only’’; (3) in subsection (d)(1), by striking ‘‘180’’ and inserting ‘‘45’’; and (4) in subsection (e), by striking ‘‘No waiver’’ and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting the following: ‘‘A waiver under this section—‘‘(1) shall be in effect for a period of 8 years unless the State requests a shorter duration; ‘(2) may be renewed for unlimited additional 8-year periods upon application by the State; and ‘‘(3) may not be cancelled by the Secretary before the expiration of the 8-year period (including any renewal period under paragraph (2)).’’.

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28 июля, 05:42

Senate releases 'skinny' Obamacare repeal bill

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The Senate released its long-awaited slimmed down Obamacare repeal bill late Thursday night, just hours before the chamber hopes to advance its last-ditch effort to scrap the 2010 health care law. The so-called skinny repeal bill eliminates the law's requirement for most individuals to have health insurance and repeals the employer mandate for eight years. It also defunds Planned Parenthood for one year, temporarily scraps a tax on medical devices, expands Obamacare waivers allowing states to develop their own health care systems and increases contribution limits to health savings accounts for three years.The latest legislation is a far cry from more sweeping Obamacare repeal bills that the Senate rejected this week. Senate Republicans are insisting they must pass a more comprehensive health plan if the upper chamber can advance the legislation on Friday. Several Republican senators Thursday evening trashed the skinny bill as bad policy, vowing to oppose it unless Speaker Paul Ryan committed to allowing a conference committee to change the legislation. Ryan later issued a statement asserting the House would be "willing" to participate in a conference committee and not simply pass the skinny repeal bill. Several Republicans would not say how they will vote on the bill as of Thursday night.Many insurance experts believe the skinny repeal measure would do substantial harm to the individual insurance market. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that scrapping the individual mandate would lead to a 20 percent increase in premiums and 15 million more uninsured Americans.“It restores freedom to Americans that Obamacare took away,” McConnell said in introducing the legislation.Paul Demko contributed to this report.

28 июля, 03:35

Sessions ‘confident’ in recusal, despite 'hurtful' Trump attacks

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he stood by his recusal from the federal probe into Russian election meddling and potential ties to the Trump campaign, despite President Donald Trump’s repeated public rebukes of the move. “I am confident I made the right decisions, a decision that is consistent for the rule of law,” Sessions told Fox during an interview airing Thursday night. “An attorney general who doesn't follow the law is not very effective in leading the Department of Justice.”The attorney general added that he understood Trump's feelings on the matter. "This is been a big distraction for him," he said.President Trump has scolded Sessions numerous times over the past week, both in public appearances and on social media, openly criticizing him for stepping away from the investigation. Trump has refused to say whether or not the intends to fire Sessions in light of his “disappointment” in him, but Sessions reaffirmed Thursday that he intends to carry on in his role until told otherwise. Sessions added, however, that if the president called for him to step aside that he would “certainly do so.”“If he wants to make a change, he can certainly do so,” Sessions said of Trump. “I would be glad to yield in that circumstance.”Sessions also told Fox that he felt Trump’s public rebukes of him were “kind of … hurtful,” though he added that he still felt that “the president of the United States is a strong leader."Sessions added: "He is determined to move this country in the direction he believes it needs to go to make us great again. And he's had a lot of criticisms, and he's steadfastly determined to get his job done, and he wants all of us to do our jobs and that's what I intend to do."Trump has slammed the sitting attorney general in recent days, telling The New York Times last week that he would’ve never picked him had he known he planned to recuse himself from the ongoing federal probe on Russian election meddling and potential ties to the Trump campaign.

28 июля, 02:49

Tax reform: Is that all there is?

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A dearth of details in a long-awaited statement from the Trump administration and Congress indicates that a tax overhaul could be years, not months, from fruition.

28 июля, 02:34

Sanders: Scaramucci let passion 'get the best of him' on Priebus, Bannon remarks

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said new communications director Anthony Scaramucci let his passion for serving President Donald Trump "get the best of him" when he made explosive remarks about fellow Trump administration staffers Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon."This is a guy who sometimes uses colorful and in many circles probably not appropriate language," the newly named press secretary said on Fox news Thursday, addressing Scaramucci's explicit interview with The New Yorker in which he called Priebus a “f------ paranoid schizophrenic,” and said of Bannon, "I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own c---.""He's very passionate about the president and the president's agenda and I think he may have let that get the best of him in that conversation," Sanders added. Despite the feuding between Scaramucci, Bannon and Priebus spilling into public view, Sanders maintained that the White House is focused on fulfilling its obligations to the American people and not getting caught up in personnel squabbles."The bottom line is most of us here at the White House are focused on who has a job out in America, not who has a job here," she said.Scaramucci in recent days has come out swinging from within the West Wing, publicly threatening to "fire everybody" to stop damaging reports from leaking to the press and daring Priebus to come forth and probe that he is not one of the senior administration officials allegedly leaking information. Prior to Sanders appearance on Fox, Scaramucci tweeted that he would seek to stop using his “colorful language” in the public sphere.“I sometimes use colorful language,” he tweeted. “I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump's agenda. #MAGA”

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28 июля, 02:30

Senate Majority PAC raised $4.5M in first half of 2017

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Senate Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC controlled by allies of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, raised $4.6 million in the first six months of 2017, its fastest-ever fundraising start at the beginning of an election cycle.The super PAC has spent little, and ended June with $4.5 million in the bank. Senate Majority PAC is expected to play a major role in Senate Democrats' defensive effort in 2018, when 10 Democratic senators are facing reelection in states President Donald Trump won last November. In five of those states — Indiana, West Virginia, Montana, North Dakota and Missouri — Trump won by more than 10 percentage points.Democrats are also targeting Republican senators in Nevada and Arizona.The super PAC raised between $1 million and $3 million in the first six months of the 2012, 2014 and 2016 election cycles. In June 2011, the equivalent time period when the same class of senators was last on the ballot, Senate Majority PAC had just over $1 million in the bank. It had less on hand at the same time in 2013 and 2015.“Senate Majority PAC is off to its best start ever because Democratic donors are energized to beat Republicans in 2018," said JB Poersch, the group's president. "The GOP has undermined American families at every turn. Senate Democrats' commitment to a real economic agenda will help contribute to our success in 2018."

28 июля, 02:05

Guam delegate to Congress facing ethics inquiry

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Madeleine Bordallo, Guam’s delegate to Congress is under investigation for a potential ethics violation, the House Ethics Committee announced on Thursday evening.The substance of the inquiry is unclear. But its existence was made public Thursday under a decade-old process requiring the Ethics Committee to disclose the targets of investigations 45 days after complaints have been referred.Bordallo’s matter was referred to the committee in June by the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent entity established in 2008 to police lawmakers’ conduct. OCE refers cases to the House Ethics Committee when there’s a “substantial reason to believe” that they’re credible. The committee has another 45 days — until Sept. 11 — to decide whether to make a ruling in Bordallo’s case or prolong it indefinitely.A spokesman for Bordallo, who has represented Guam in Congress since 2003, called the announcement the result of a “politically motivated complaint.” The spokesman, Adam Carbullido, noted that referrals to the Ethics Committee don’t amount to a finding of any violation.“Congresswoman Bordallo is cooperating fully with the Committee and is committed to abiding by the rules of the House and federal law,” he said. “She asserts that no violation has occurred and looks forward to timely resolution by the Ethics Committee.”

28 июля, 01:27

Want to see bipartisanship in Washington? Fire Mueller

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The many rumblings about the special counsel's future — which have intensified since President Donald Trump publicly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions — could unite lawmakers from both parties in a way few issues have.

28 июля, 01:15

Candidate for DHS job withdraws because of transgender ban

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A candidate for a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security withdrew from consideration on Wednesday, citing President Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.John Fluharty, a former executive director of the Delaware Republican party, informed a DHS official in an email Wednesday morning that he was pulling out of contention to be the assistant secretary of partnership and engagement at the department.“As I mentioned in our conversation, I am a strong advocate for diversity, both in the Republican Party and in government,” Fluharty wrote in an email obtained by POLITICO. “The President’s announcement this morning — that he will ban all of those who identify as transgender from military service — runs counter to my deeply held beliefs, and it would be impossible for me to commit to serving the Administration knowing that I would be working against those values.”Fluharty, who is openly gay, said he interviewed for the job on Tuesday, one day before Trump’s surprise tweet that the government “will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity” in the U.S. military.The decision blindsided much of the federal government, including many at the Defense Department and in the White House. It has led to widespread confusion about the what will happen to openly transgender members of the military, and the White House has not yet provided clarity on the issue.Department officials confirmed Fluharty was under consideration, though it’s unclear whether he was in line to get the job at the department.“He was one of many candidates being considered and he withdrew from consideration,” DHS spokesman David Lapan wrote in an email. “We’re not aware of anyone else who withdrew for that reason.”DHS has had trouble filling the assistant secretary of partnership and engagement position. David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, who had come under criticism for a series of deaths at the jails he oversees, was under consideration for the job. But DHS announced in June that he was no longer in contention.The assistant secretary, which does not require Senate confirmation, coordinates outreach to state, local and tribal officials and law enforcement.Fluharty said he was contacted about the prospect of applying for the position last week, and agreed to do the interview on Tuesday. Though he was interested in the post, he opted against it after the president’s announcement.

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28 июля, 01:08

What Cain and Abel Tell Us About the War Between Priebus and Scaramucci

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Scaramucci's off-the-cuff biblical reference is full of interpretive possibilities.