What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential newsletter. Logging the daily shock and awe in national politics. Read in moderation.
by @matt_kiser

Site updated:

1/ House Republicans narrowly passed the controversial health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The vote passed 217-213 six weeks after House leaders failed to get the votes needed to pass an earlier version of their bill. The bill included last-minute amendments designed to draw votes from the most conservative House Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus as well as from their more moderate counterparts. The vote occurred before the Congressional Budget Office had released a new analysis of the revised bill with its cost and impact. The measure moves to the Senate, where its fate is far from certain. Democrats are confident that some provisions of the House bill will not comply with special budget rules that Republicans must follow in order to skirt a Senate filibuster. (Washington Post / NPR / New York Times)

UPDATE:

What’s actually in the GOP health care bill. (Politico)

Obstacles await the Republican health care bill in the Senate. Here’s what the Senate might do to change it. (Vox)

2/ A last-minute amendment to the health care bill will allow states to waive 10 essential benefits and potentially impact everyone not insured by Medicare or small-business plans. People who obtain health insurance through their employers could be at risk of losing protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses, maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health treatment, and hospitalization. (Wall Street Journal)

3/ Several Senate Republicans said they will set aside the House health-care bill and write their own version instead. Without changes, the House bill arrives in the Senate well short of the 50 votes it needs to pass (including a tie-breaking vote by Mike Pence). Republicans have hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, which means they can only afford to lose two votes. The bill is expected to undergo major changes that might leave it unrecognizable, including stripping away the provisions that earned the support of hard-right House members to secure its passage. Senate Republicans have opted to use a maneuver known as reconciliation to try to pass the bill with a simple majority, instead of having to clear the 60-vote threshold that is required for most legislation. (Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post)

4/ Health care bill will exempt members of Congress and their staffs from losing popular Obamacare provisions. The amendment would ensure that staffers continue to have access to Obamacare programs, like a ban on discriminating based on preexisting conditions, while other enrollees could lose those policies if their state applied for a waiver. A Republican legislator has vowed to close the loophole in separate legislation. (The Hill / Vox) [Editor’s note: This was amended by H.R. 2192, which eliminated the non-application of certain State waiver provisions to Members of Congress and congressional staff.]

5/ Tillerson is asking State Department employees to weigh in on the agency’s budget cuts. The Trump administration wants to cut State Department budget by 26% for “efficiency improvements.” (CNN / CBS News)

6/ Sean Spicer debates the press over the definition of a wall. Spicer got into a heated back-and-forth with a Breitbart correspondent after he asked whether the Trump administration had lied to the public when he promised to build a concrete wall along the southern border, only to downgrade his proposal to a series of fence-like boundaries. The issue is over the definition of whether a “levee wall” or a “bollard wall” is more of a fence than a wall. (The Guardian)

7/ Trump called out Susan Rice for refusing to testify before a Senate committee investigating both Russian meddling in the 2016 election and allegations of Obama-era spying on Team Trump. Rice’s lawyer said she was declining to appear because the ranking Democratic member on the subcommittee did not agree Rice should testify, thereby making the request “a significant departure from the bipartisan invitations extended to other witnesses.” (Fox News)

8/ Border agents are wrongly telling asylum-seekers that the US won’t take them. Customs and Border Protection said its policies haven’t changed and it’s adhering to the law, but more than 100 individuals and families seeking safety were turned away by border agents from November to April. (HuffPost)

9/ Trump signed an order aimed at allowing churches to engage in more political activity. The executive order would provide “regulatory relief” from the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health insurance cover birth control and other family planning services. The signing took place on the National Day of Prayer. (Politico / Washington Post)

10/ Trump attacks “fake news media” while congratulating Fox News for its high ratings. It’s not clear what provoked Trump’s criticism of the media on Twitter this morning. (Politico)

The Fake News media is officially out of control. They will do or say anything in order to get attention - never been a time like this!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2017

Congratulations to @foxandfriends on its unbelievable ratings hike.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2017

11/ The Senate passed the $1 trillion spending deal to avert a government shutdown. The spending bill funds the federal government through September. (Politico)