👋 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/ Trump’s hardball tactics backfired as the Senate rejected its slimmed-down Obamacare repeal with Collins, Murkowski, McCain all voting no. The bill would have left 16 million more people uninsured by 2026 than Obamacare. Earlier in the week, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the motion to proceed, causing Trump to attack Murkowski on Twitter, saying she “really let the Republicans, and our country, down.” Then, before yesterday’s vote, Trump had Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke call Murkowski and Alaska’s other Republican senator, threatening that the administration may change its position on issues that affect the state in order to punish Murkowski. She didn’t budge. Shortly after the vote failed 49-to-51, Trump took to Twitter: “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!” (Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg)
The night John McCain killed the GOP’s health care fight. A seven-year quest to undo the Affordable Care Act collapsed — at least for now — as John McCain kept his colleagues and the press corps in suspense over a little more than two hours late Thursday into early Friday. (Washington Post)
How McCain tanked Obamacare repeal. The maverick senator delivers a stunning rebuke to President Donald Trump and his own party leadership. (Politico)
How GOP rebels took down the Senate’s plot to kill Obamacare. John McCain joined Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to obliterate President Trump’s health-care pledge. (The Daily Beast)
GOP Obamacare repeal bill fails in dramatic late-night vote. The Senate has dealt a devastating setback to Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, defeating a GOP “skinny repeal” bill early Friday morning. (CNN)
Why Senate Republicans couldn’t repeal Obamacare. The result is, for now, a crushing blow to seven years of promises to uproot the health care law. (Vox)
2/ A bipartisan group of roughly 40 House members have been exploring ways to stabilize Obamacare over the past month. Efforts are expected to take on greater urgency after the collapse of the Senate’s Obamacare bill. Trump has threatened to cut off Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies as soon as next month, which could leave about 25,000 people in 38 states at risk of having no insurers willing to offer coverage next year. (Politico)
Obama urged Congress to exercise the “political courage” to improve healthcare while praising everyone who “made their voices heard” against the GOP health care bill, an Obama spokesperson said. (The Hill / Vox)
3/ Reince Priebus resigned. The move comes after a week in which Priebus endured a non-stop attack by incoming White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. John Kelly, a retired Marine four-star general currently serving as secretary of homeland security who oversaw the implementation of Trump’s travel ban, will take over as the new White House chief of staff. Trump’s advisers pushed back on the Kelly appointment, saying Trump needs someone more in tune with the nationalist political agenda that helped propel him to the White House. Trump announced the news, naturally, on Twitter, saying Priebus was a “good man” but called Kelly a “star.” Priebus is the last of the RNC staffers to exit the West Wing. Months ago, Priebus’ deputy, Katie Walsh left after being accused of leaking documents, followed by Sean Spicer. (New York Times / NPR / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
Anthony Scaramucci’s wife filed for divorce due to his “naked political ambition.” Deidre Ball apparently despises Trump. (Page Six)
Why Anthony Scaramucci hates Reince Priebus. After Trump’s victory, Priebus was named chief of staff, and Scaramucci was assured that he was in line for a big position within the administration. Priebus told Trump that he felt Scaramucci had been offered too much for his stake in SkyBridge by HNA Group, a Chinese group that might expect favors from within the administration for the inflated price. (HuffPost)
4/ Russia retaliated against Congress’ new sanctions bill, ordering the US to cut “hundreds” of personnel at its embassy and consulates in Russia. The Senate and House passed a bill that strengthens existing sanctions on Russia and gives Congress the power to block Trump from lifting them. (Bloomberg / New York Times / Associated Press)
- Senate slapped new sanctions on Russia, putting Trump in corner. The bill, which includes a provision that allows Congress to stop any effort by Trump to ease existing sanctions on Russia, will now be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto. (Reuters)
5/ North Korea fired another ballistic missile. The missile launched Friday flew for about 45 minutes and landed off the Japanese coast in waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Experts estimate that the intercontinental ballistic missile had the reach to hit practically all of the major cities on the US mainland. (Associated Press / ABC News / New York Times / Politico)
6/ The House has passed a $788 billion spending bill to boost military spending and $1.6 billion for Trump’s border wall. The bill would increase the Department of Defense budget by $68.1 billion. (Associated Press / Reuters)
7/ The Trump Organization requires all employees at all levels to sign a confidentiality agreement, or else they will lose their jobs. The agreement rolled out after the election, which recently leaked, shows that employees must keep secret any information they learn about anyone in the “Trump family” and extended family, including their “present, former and future spouses, children, parents, in-laws.” The agreement lasts forever and is retroactive. (CBS News)
poll/ 58% of adults believe that transgender individuals should be allowed to serve in the military. When asked about the impact on military capabilities, 14% said prohibiting transgender service members made the military “more capable” while 43% said “no impact,” 22% said “less capable,” and the rest said they don’t know. (Reuters)
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