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The Morning Report: July 21, 2017

by Jeff Powers, published

Senate Republicans threw a curveball into the complicated Obamacare repeal vote. The GOP introduced yet another amendment to their bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The new version, posted on a Senate website, removes the so-called Cruz amendment. Authored by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the amendment would have allowed insurers to sell much-less-generous, and hence less expensive, individual health plans.

It's not clear if that amendment will remain out of the bill as Senate Republican leaders continue to struggle for 50 votes.

The Congressional Budget Office, in an analysis of the new version of the bill, estimated it would lead to 22 million more Americans lacking health insurance by 2026 than would be uninsured if Obamacare remained in its current form.

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell says he will submit a procedural vote on repealing Obamacare next week.

Last February, a federal court judge issued an unprecedented ruling that could open the way in 2020 for the first serious challenge in decades by an independent candidate for president.

In the blistering 28-­‐page decision, Judge Tanya Chutkan told the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that in its rejection of a complaint by Level the Playing Field, a non-­‐profit group trying to open up debates to a third candidate, it had acted in a manner that was “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.”

Fast forward now to July, and the FEC is expected to respond to a second complaint filed by Level the Playing Field next week. Based on the FEC response, the stage will be set for the next big battle.

Sen. John McCain on Twitter Thursday announced he will be "back soon" in Congress, after his brain tumor diagnosis shook Washington, D.C., Wednesday night.

McCain has glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The news has devastated many of his colleagues, including members of the opposite party. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said he was "in tears" when he heard the news.

Many in Washington describe McCain as a Senate institution, and one of the body's most powerful members. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), noted that McCain was in the Senate when he arrived in the city as an intern.

"I cam here to the Senate in 1987 as an intern, and he was here then," Flake said. "I've never known the Senate without John."

In the latest IVN podcast, host T.J. O’Hara is joined by David Walker. Walker served as the seventh U.S. Comptroller General for the Clinton and Bush administrations, as well as the head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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