👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ The GOP health care bill collapsed after two more Republican senators said they would oppose the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, leaving Mitch McConnell at least two votes short of the 50 needed to begin debate on their bill to dismantle the health law. Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran joined Rand Paul and Susan Collins of Maine in opposition of the bill, preventing GOP leaders from bringing the bill to the floor and ending Republicans’ seven-year goal of repealing Obamacare. (New York Times / Politico / Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
Trump blindsided by the implosion of the GOP health care bill. While the president strategized with Republican lawmakers at the White House over steak, two senators were finalizing their statements tanking the current proposal. (Politico)
How the Republican health care bill fell apart. Trump was “annoyed” at the news, which came after a dinner with Republican senators. (CNN)
2/ Trump immediately called on Republicans to repeal Obamacare now and work on a healthcare plan that would draw Democratic support later. “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate,” Trump tweeted. “Dems will join in!” (Reuters / The Hill)
3/ Trump blamed Democrats for the collapse of the GOP health care bill and urged Republicans to let Obamacare fail in an attempt to force Democrats to the negotiating table. In a series of tweets, just hours after saying Republicans should act now to repeal the law, Trump said: “We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return! As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!” (Washington Post / Politico / The Hill)
4/ McConnell said he would attempt to hold a vote on a repeal-only bill in the coming days that would delay the repeal of Obamacare for two years. “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” McConnell said in a statement. He added that “in the coming days,” the Senate would vote on “a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.” (CNN / ABC News)
- Why is Mitch McConnell still calling for a health-care vote? The effort to “repeal and immediately replace” Obamacare “will not be successful,” McConnell admitted. (Washington Post)
5/ Three Republican senators said they would oppose McConnell’s repeal-only idea. Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito, and Lisa Murkowski said they would oppose any vote to proceed with an immediate repeal of the health care law without a replacement — enough to doom the effort before it could get any momentum. (New York Times / Washington Post)
6/ House Republican unveiled their 2018 budget proposal, which slashes billions in spending to social programs like Medicaid and food stamp, and paves the way for a major overhaul of the tax code. Defense spending would steadily increase over the next 10 years while non-defense, discretionary spending would decline to $424 billion — about 23% below current spending in the category. The budget calls for at least $203 billion in cuts to programs such as Medicare and Social Security over the next decade. In addition, the proposal sets out special procedures that could allow Republicans to pass legislation over the objections of Senate Democrats using a process known as reconciliation and setting the stage for tax reform legislation. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / ABC News)
7/ House Republicans want to defund the only federal agency that works to ensure the voting process is secure as part of proposed federal budget cuts. Republicans say that the Federal Election Commission could bear the Election Assistance Commission’s responsibilities and that the EAC improperly interferes in the right of states to conduct their elections. (Wall Street Journal)
8/ The vice chair of Trump’s voter fraud commission wants to add new requirements for voting. The day after Trump was elected, Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, proposed a change federal law to make voter registration requirements stricter and “to make clear that proof of citizenship requirements are permitted.” Kobach is now the vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. (Washington Post / HuffPost)
9/ Thousands of voters are removing themselves from state voter rolls, worried that Trump’s vote fraud commission will reveal their personal information. Colorado has seen 3,738 voters remove their names from the rolls since Trump’s election commission sent letters to all states requesting voter information. (NBC News)
10/ The eighth person at the Trump Tower meeting has been identified. Ike Kaveladze, attended as an interpreter for the Russian lawyer, is an American-based employee of a Russian real estate company owned by Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Russian developers who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013. In October 2000, a report by the Government Accountability Office accused Kaveladze of laundering $1.4 billion of Russian and Eastern European money through US banks. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is investigating the meeting. (Washington Post / CNN / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / The Daily Beast)
11/ White House staff is worried that Jared Kushner’s security clearance is in jeopardy. Kushner has an interim security clearance, but met with the FBI on June 23 to be interviewed for his permanent security clearance – two days after amending his SF-86 form for a third time with details of the meeting with Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. Without a security clearance, Kushner wouldn’t be able to take part in most West Wing decisions and it would hamstring his foreign policy work. (CNN)
12/ Trump claims to have signed more bills than any president ever in his first six months. “We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president, ever,” Trump said at a “Made in America” event. Carter signed 70 bills in his first six months, Clinton signed 50., W. Bush signed 20 bills, and Obama signed 39 bills during the period, including an $800 billion stimulus program to confront an economic disaster, legislation to make it easier for women to sue for equal pay, a bill to give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco and an expansion of the federal health insurance program for children. Trump has signed 42 bills as of this week. (New York Times)
13/ Trump is fighting a demand that he testify in the suit by protesters that were roughed up at his rally. At a March 2016 event, Trump called out to the crowd to remove the three protesters, saying “get ’em out of here.” The three were then physically attacked. Trump has attempted to get the suit dismissed on First Amendment grounds, as well as arguing that he is immune from civil lawsuits while serving as president. (Politico / Washington Post)
poll/ 76% of Americans are worried that the U.S. will become engaged in a major war in the next four years, jumping 10 points since February, when 66% of Americans said they were worried about military conflict. (NBC News)
poll/ 81% of Americans see North Korea as a threat to the U.S., including 66% who see it as a “serious” threat, up 12 points from 2005. 36% trust Trump’s ability to handle the situation, while 63% distrust him, and 40% trusting him “not at all.” (ABC News)
poll/ 12% of key Trump counties supported the GOP health care effort, while 41% said it was a bad idea. Among Trump voters specifically in these counties, 25% believe the House GOP health care bill is a good idea. (NBC News)
poll/ Hillary Clinton more unpopular than Trump. 39% of Americans view Hillary Clinton favorably, compared to 41% for Trump. Meanwhile, 58% have an unfavorable view of Clinton, compared to 55% who have an unfavorable view of Trump. (Bloomberg)
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