Top News Stories for Today – July 20, 2017
Trump to GOP repeal and replace ObamaCare before August recess
On Wednesday, President Trump told Senate Republicans at a White House luncheon that they should repeal and replace ObamaCare before the August recess. Trump’s stance on his party’s health-care legislation has shifted dramatically in the last three days: On Monday, he demanded Republicans “just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now” and then work on a replacement; on Tuesday, he insisted Republicans simply “let ObamaCare fail” to force Democrats to the negotiating table; by Wednesday, he lamented “Republicans never discuss how good their health-care bill is” and promised to improve it at the lunch.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to hold a vote next week on an attempt to repeal ObamaCare immediately and replace it within a two-year window.But three GOP senators — enough to kill the effort — already indicating their opposition. Donald J. Trump, The Associated Press, The Week
Tensions reach new high between Trump and GOPs
Tensions are bubbling over between President Trump and Senate Republicans. White House officials are blaming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for getting stuffed at the goal line on ObamaCare repeal-and-replace legislation, while GOP senators say Trump failed to provide any meaningful political momentum for the prized measure.
“He was of no help,” grumbled one GOP senator, who doubted that Trump would have done much to defend lawmakers from political attacks if the bill passed. A member of Trump’s team says Trump bears no responsibility for the embarrassing loss because McConnell was in charge of putting together a Senate package. “This was McConnell’s deal,” said a White House official when asked what went wrong. The Hill
Hundreds protest DeVos in Colorado
Hundreds of people gathered at the Colorado statehouse Wednesday morning in protest of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her Denver speech Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council. Critics say both DeVos and the American Legislative Exchange Council — known as ALEC — support the privatization of public schools. Thousands of GOP lawmakers, thinkers and lobbyists will be in the Mile High City this week for the conservative gathering.
The rally was filled with speakers — including state Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, and state Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Jefferson County — who chastised DeVos and the Trump administration before a crowd waving signs, booing and cheering. The mass of people then marched down Colfax Avenue and onto Broadway. The Denver Post
China and Tunisia call for new efforts to stabilize Libya
The foreign ministers of China and Tunisia called Wednesday for new efforts to reach a negotiated peace in Libya and prevent the unstable North African nation from dissolving into a humanitarian disaster on a level with Syria.
China’s Wang Yi said Libya is attracting militants from across the globe now being driven from Iraq and Syria, requiring the international community to step in and prevent the country becoming “a new source of international terrorism.” “We should prevent Libya from becoming the next Syria,” Wang told reporters. Tunisia’s Khemaies Jhinaoui, whose country borders Libya, said a political rather than military solution is needed based on a 2015 United Nations-brokered peace deal. VOA
Sen. John McCain diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer
A week after undergoing a procedure to remove a blood clot above his left eye, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. McCain’s office released a statement Wednesday from the Mayo Clinic saying that after the procedure, “subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot.
The senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.” Glioblastoma multiforme tumors are an especially aggressive type of brain cancer, and the five-year odds of survival are low. McCain, 80, has represented Arizona since 1987. The Associated Press, The Week
Replace ObamaCare will leave 32 million more uninsured
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday released a cost estimate of Senate Republicans’ latest health-care plan: to repeal ObamaCare now, but replace it later. The CBO score revealed that under that proposal, an additional 32 million would be uninsured by 2026 compared to under ObamaCare.
The CBO also found that average premiums for the nongroup market would jump by an estimated 25 percent next year compared to under ObamaCare. On average, premiums would double by 2026. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to hold a vote next week on repeal-and-delay, though three GOP senators — enough to kill the effort — have already indicated their opposition. Congressional Budget Office, Politico
Trump unhappy Sessions recused himself on Russia
In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, President Trump said that if Attorney General Jeff Sessions had told him he would recuse himself from leading the investigation into Russian election meddling, he never would have appointed him. “Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president,” he said.
“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.” He also accused Sessions of giving “some bad answers” during his Senate confirmation hearings, primarily his untrue denial of ever meeting Russian officials during the campaign. The New York Times
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