The Latest: McConnell says he'll push for clean repeal bill

Published: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 7:05 PM
Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 7:05 PM

The Latest on the congressional effort to overhaul the national health care law (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying a new health care strategy after the "repeal and replace" measure failed. McConnell says he will push the Senate to pass a clean repeal bill.

The Republican leader made the announcement in a statement that came a few hours after two Republican senators dealt a fatal blow to the replacement bill unveiled last Thursday, meaning McConnell lacked the votes to move ahead.

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11 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, facing defeat on his "Obamacare" replacement, says he will push the Senate to pass a clean repeal bill.

The Republican leader made the announcement in a statement that came a few hours after two Republican senators dealt a fatal blow to the replacement bill unveiled last Thursday. Sens. Jerry Moran and Mike Lee joined two other senators in opposing the legislation, meaning McConnell lacked the votes to move ahead.

The Kentucky Republican says, "regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful."

McConnell says that in the coming days, the Senate will consider the House-passed bill, with the first order of business a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay.

He is not saying when the vote will occur.

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10:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says Republicans should just repeal the nation's current health care law and work on a new plan that starts from a "clean slate."

Trump tweeted his message Monday night after two more GOP senators announced their opposition to legislation he backs. The defections left Republicans short of the votes they need to pass the measure.

Trump says that if Republicans start fresh, "Dems will join in!"

Republican lawmakers have spent the last several months working to both repeal the law passed under President Barack Obama and pass an overhaul package.

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9 p.m.

Republican Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah say they will oppose the Republican health care bill, dealing a blow to GOP leaders' hopes of repealing and replacing President Barack Obama's legislation.

The two senators issued separate statements late Monday saying they can't support the legislation. They join two other Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, in opposition.

With just a 52-48 majority in the Senate, Lee and Moran's resistance means Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cannot move ahead on the bill.

Lee says he can't support the bill because it doesn't repeal all of the Obamacare taxes and doesn't go far enough to lower premiums.

Moran says, "We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy."

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6:55 p.m.

A third Republican senator is signaling he may not back his party's health care bill when it finally comes to a vote. That puts the high-profile legislation in deep jeopardy.

Conservative Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says he's spoken to colleagues and confirmed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said future Medicaid cuts planned by the health care measure will "never happen."

Johnson tells reporters such comments are "troubling" and "a real breach of trust."

He says he's no longer urging colleagues to vote to begin debate on the measure. That vote is now expected as early as next week.

The measure will be derailed if three of the 52 GOP senators oppose it. Two other Republicans have already said they're against it.

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6:50 p.m.

A conservative Republican who is running to unseat Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake says she's met with White House officials about the campaign.

Kelli Ward says said she was encouraged by the meeting at the White House, but wouldn't discuss details.

The White House meeting points to strained ties between Flake and President Donald Trump. Flake was an outspoken Republican critic of Trump in last year's presidential contest. He's facing the possibility of multiple GOP rivals in the 2018 primary.

Ward is a former state senator who sought to unseat Sen. John McCain in 2016.

She calls Flake ineffective but acknowledges ousting an incumbent is difficult. But Ward points to Trump's surprise win in 2016 and says "times have changed."

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4:30 p.m.

Foes from left and right are using the delayed vote on the Republican health care bill to make it as politically toxic as possible for wavering GOP senators to support it.

But the postponement also gives Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House more time to cut the deals they need to rescue the imperiled measure.

McConnell signaled Monday that days of bargaining and persuasion with reluctant colleagues lay ahead. He says the only way to prevail "is with continued hard work, and that's just what we intend to do. "

The AARP is aiming TV and radio ads at undecided, moderate Republican senators in five states. From the right, Americans for Prosperity is rallying its members to urge senators to make the bill even more conservative.

Trump physical results: 6 things to know

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 5:16 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16:  U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The three-part panel features ÒAmerican women from various backgrounds and experiences who will speak with high-level women within the Trump Administration, about what has been accomplished to date to advance women at home, and in the workplace.Ó  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The three-part panel features ÒAmerican women from various backgrounds and experiences who will speak with high-level women within the Trump Administration, about what has been accomplished to date to advance women at home, and in the workplace.Ó (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is in excellent health and likely to finish his term in office without any medical issues, a presidential doctor said Tuesday at a news conference, four days after the president underwent a physical exam.

>> Read more trending news

“The president's overall health is excellent," White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson said Tuesday.

Here are six things to know about the results of the president’s physical:

Jackson: ‘He had great findings across the board’

Trump is in “very, very good health,” Jackson said Tuesday. 

“(I have) no concerns for his heart health,” the presidential physician said. “There are many good things that came from his exam, I think he had great findings across the board. “

>> White House physician releases official report

Jackson said Trump’s good health is likely to last through “the remainder of this tern, and even for the remainder of another term, if he’s elected.” He said he based his assessment on the president’s cardiac results.

“He falls into a category that portends years of event-free living,” Jackson said. “He has incredibly good genes, and that’s just the way God made him.”

Cognitive screening showed no issues

Jackson said he conducted a cognitive screening on Trump at the president’s request, although he felt the test was unnecessary.

“I’ve spent almost every day in the president’s presence,” said Jackson, whose office is near Trump’s. “I’ve got to know him pretty well and I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability or neurological functions.”

He said that in all his conversations with Trump, the president has been “very articulate.”

“I’ve never known him to repeat himself around me,” Jackson said. “He says what he wants to say and speaks his mind.”

Infamous slurred speech incident might have been caused by medication

A December incident in which the president sounded as though he was slurring his speech while announcing a policy shift in Israel was probably due to a medication, Jackson said.

>> Related: Trump’s slurred speech: Is it loose-fitting dentures, dry mouth or something else?

“We evaluated him, we checked everything out and everything was normal,” Jackson said, adding that the incident was likely caused because the president needed water.

He said prior to the Dec. 7 incident, he gave Trump Sudafed, which might have “inadvertently dried up his secretions.”

Why Did President Trump Slur His Words in a Recent Speech?

Trump working to lose 10-15 pounds

At 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, the president has a body mass index of 29.9, just under the number that would designate him as obese, according to information released Tuesday.

“The president, he and I talked and... I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so is (to lose) 10 or 15 pounds,” Jackson said, adding that a nutritionist would be meeting with White House chefs in the coming weeks and that Trump would be put on an exercise routine.

“He’s more enthusiastic about the diet,” Jackson said.

Jackson not concerned about Trump’s stress levels

Despite concerns from the public and reports that have painted a chaotic White House, Jackson said that he has no concerns about the president’s stress levels.

“I talk to him sometimes about stress just because I think it’s my job as his physician to bring it up on occasion,” he said. “I’ve never seen the president stressed out too much. ... He has a unique ability to push the reset button and he just gets up and he starts a new day. (I think it’s) made him healthier from a stress standpoint.”

Jackson did not test Trump’s hearing

Jackson said he didn’t have enough time to test Trump’s hearing, although he planned to conduct such a test in future physicals.

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Robert Mueller subpoenas Steve Bannon in Russia probe

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:57 AM

Who is Steven Bannon

Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to testify before a grand jury as part of the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to the Trump campaign, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

>> Related: Steve Bannon to testify before House Intel Committee in Russia probe

Steve Bannon to testify before House Intel Committee in Russia probe

Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 11:19 AM

Who is Steven Bannon

Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week in its probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

An unidentified source told Reuters on Thursday that the interview will take place Tuesday behind closed doors. It will focus on Bannon’s time as Trump’s campaign chief and not on his time in the White House, according to Reuters.

In preparation for the interview, Bannon hired Washington attorney Bill Burck to represent him, NBC News reported Friday. Burck was previously hired to represent former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Donald McGhan in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and its possible ties to the Trump campaign, according to Law360.

Burck is representing Bannon only before the committee and not in Mueller’s probe, NBC News reported.

Trump named Bannon, the former chairman of the conservative news website Breitbart News, as his campaign chief in August 2016. After his inauguration, Trump appointed Bannon to fill the newly created position of White House chief strategist.

He left the Trump administration in August 2017, almost exactly one year after joining Trump’s presidential campaign.

>> Related: Steve Bannon out as White House strategist

Days before his exit, Bannon faced scrutiny for an interview he did with the liberal magazine The American Prospect, contradicting the president's warnings to North Korea of "fire and fury" in response to threats. Tension between the pair intensified last week after Bannon was quoted in journalist Michael Wolff’s controversial tell-all book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

>> Related: 10 stunning claims about Trump White House from 'Fire and Fury'

Bannon told Wolff he thought a meeting set up by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others in June 2016 was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” Trump slammed Bannon in a statement after the comments were made public, saying, “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

Bannon later apologized for the comments.

>> Related: Report: Bannon apologizes for comments about Trump family in new book

Bannon announced Tuesday that he would be leaving Breitbart News for the second time in two years.

>> Related: Report: Steve Bannon stepping down as executive chairman at Breitbart News

"You have not heard the last from me," he wrote in a Twitter post announcing his departure.

Federal judge temporarily blocks Trump administration's plan to end DACA

Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 @ 5:55 AM

Trump Denies Making Deal on DACA with Democrats

A federal judge in California dealt a blow to the Trump administration’s attempt to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – also known as DACA – on Tuesday by temporarily blocking their ability to do so.

In his ruling, Judge William Alsup said DACA must stay in place until litigation over the program is complete. He also said that the Department of Homeland Security’s “decision to rescind DACA was based on a flawed legal premise.”

The judge’s ruling will allow recipients who didn’t renew by last year’s deadline to submit renewal applications, but no new applications will be allowed to be submitted.

>> Read more trending news 

“Dreamers’ lives were thrown into chaos when the Trump administration tried to terminate the DACA program without obeying the law,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, according to The Hill. “Today’s ruling is a huge step in the right direction.”

“America is and has been home to Dreamers who courageously came forward, applied for DACA and did everything the federal government asked of them,” Becerra continued. “They followed DACA’s rules, they succeeded in school, at work and in business, and they have contributed in building a better America. We will fight at every turn for their rights and opportunities so they may continue to contribute to America.”

The Trump administration announced in September that it was ending the program; however, earlier on Tuesday, during a meeting with Republicans and Democrats to discuss immigration issues, Trump appeared willing to negotiate a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants – a move that stunned both Democrats and Republicans.

“My head is spinning with all the things that were said by the president and others in that room in the course of an hour and a half,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said, according to The New York Times.

During the meeting, Trump also appeared to support Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein’s call for a clean DACA bill, which would push off dealing with issues like border security until later.

In a tweet Tuesday evening, though, he did seem to harden his resolve on the border wall, saying that a southern border wall must be part of any “DACA approval.”