Playbook: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is going to have to cajole and lean on moderate and conservative senators to find enough votes. While he may be able to tweak the bill on the margins to bring some of the lawmakers on board — and lawmakers will be able to add amendments to the underlying bill text — it’s unclear if he’ll be able to thread the needle for passage next week. As we wrote earlier this week, McConnell is going to put this bill up for a vote no matter what — he wants lawmakers on the record.”
But, opposition is growing. “Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week,” the New York Times reports.
“Senate Republican leaders were trying to lock down Republican votes by funneling money to red states, engineering a special deal for Alaska and arguing that they could insure more people at a lower cost than the House, which passed a repeal bill last month. But the forces arrayed against the Republican push to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement are formidable.”
Washington Post: “At least five Republicans have already come out against their party’s bill — which can only afford to lose two votes — and over the weekend more began expressing serious reservations and skepticism about the proposal, saying they would like more time to debate and tweak the plan.”
Mike Allen: “At least 10 Republican senators have expressed reservations, and the White House and GOP leaders can only lose two. That’s why our handicappers have suddenly gone from ‘more likely than not’ to ‘coin flip.’”
AP finds that Republicans won an extra 22 (!!) seats in Congress because of gerrymandered lines. https://t.co/0ClbOhTg1Z
— Josh Schwerin (@JoshSchwerin) June 25, 2017
Washington Post: “A small group of moderate Republican senators, worried that their leaders’ health-care bill could damage the nation’s social safety net, may pose at least as significant an obstacle to the measure’s passage as their colleagues on the right. The vast changes the legislation would make to Medicaid, the country’s broadest source of public health insurance, would represent the largest single step the government has ever taken toward conservatives’ long-held goal of reining in federal spending on health-care entitlement programs in favor of a free-market system.”
“That dramatic shift and the bill’s bold redistribution of wealth — the billions of dollars taken from coverage for the poor would help fund tax cuts for the wealthy — is creating substantial anxiety for several Republican moderates whose states have especially benefited from the expansion of Medicaid that the Affordable Care Act has allowed since 2014.”
Politico: “The most hardline conservatives in the House are taking an unusually cautious approach to the Senate’s Obamacare replacement, promising to keep an open mind about whatever their colleagues across the Capitol send back. It’s a change in strategy for the House Freedom Caucus. When House leaders first released a health care bill in February, for instance, group members took to television talk shows to pan the plan as ‘Obamacare lite,’ furious that it didn’t, in their eyes, do enough to unravel the 2010 health care law.
“They also threatened to withhold their support until changes were made, and later won concessions. For now, those hardball tactics have disappeared. As the Senate looks to pass its own health care legislation this week, those same House conservatives are taking a more measured approach — even as several conservatives in the Senate are currently balking at the bill.”
Associated Press on rumors of the imminent retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy: “To be sure, Kennedy has given no public sign that he will retire this year and give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy’s departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court. But Kennedy turns 81 next month and has been on the court for nearly 30 years. Several of his former law clerks have said they think he is contemplating stepping down in the next year or so. Kennedy and his clerks were gathering over the weekend for a reunion that was pushed up a year and helped spark talk he might be leaving the court.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 25, 2017
“Ending one the most turbulent tenures of a Washington-based ambassador in recent memory, the Kremlin has decided to recall its ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak,” three individuals familiar with the decision tell BuzzFeed News.
“The decision to bring Kislyak back to Russia rather than appoint him to a senior position at the United Nations in New York, as several outlets previously reported, comes amid investigations by the FBI and Congress into the 66-year-old diplomat’s contacts with President Donald Trump’s top aides during the 2016 presidential campaign.”
Said one diplomat: “He could use some time away.” I suspect he will be dead in a matter of weeks.
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) June 25, 2017
President Donald Trump has now officially become the first president in nearly two decades to not host an iftar dinner marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Instead of continuing with the tradition that began under President Bill Clinton, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump released a statement wishing “warm greetings to Muslims as they celebrate Eid al-Fitr.” Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims around the world abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until dusk.
Confirmation that the White House won’t commemorate Ramadan comes shortly after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also raised eyebrows by refusing to host the annual Ramadan event at the State Department.
— The President Show (@PresidentShow) June 23, 2017
— Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview) June 25, 2017