Morning Report: July 27, 2017

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Senate Republicans have cast two separate votes since Tuesday that have removed the option of “repeal-only” and a replacement plan. Now it appears their only viable option is what is known as the “skinny repeal.” This would remove some key provisions from the Affordable Care Act and leave the rest intact.

The skinny repeal would essentially remove the mandate that requires individuals and employers to get health insurance. The plan would also get rid of the medical device tax and eliminate a public health fund provision.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will offer as many amendments as they want, as long as they’re health care related.

“We expect hundreds of them will be offered to the bill. They will be whittled down from there,” says NPR’s Susan Davis. It’s a process known as “vote-a-rama.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican leadership will then assess which GOP senators they need to pass the skinny repeal.

“The FEC wants a federal judge to throw out a second complaint against the Commission on Presidential Debates. The commission filed a motion to dismiss Level the Playing Field‘s (LPF) supplemental complaint on Tuesday, July 25.

“LPF argues that the FEC continues to ignore a “mountain of evidence” that the debate commission is violating federal law with rules that explicitly favor the Republican and Democratic Parties by preventing competing parties and outside candidates from appearing on the presidential debate stage.

“Further, LPF challenges the nonpartisan status of the debate commission as members of its board, including its co-chairs, have a financial and political investment in the major parties. IVN.us has covered this bipartisan agenda extensively.”

Read the full article here.

 

The US Senate looks like it will pass new sanctions on Russia that overwhelmingly passed the US House earlier this week. The bill would also bar the president from easing sanctions against the Russian government without congressional approval.

The Russian government is furious with the new sanctions, threatening retaliation against Washington, while the EU says it might affect its own energy security.

“I am glad to announce that we have reached an agreement that will allow us to send sanctions legislation to the president’s desk,” said Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Senate is expected to approve sanctions against Russia and Iran that had already passed the upper chamber in June, as well as new North Korea sanctions added to the bill in the House. The bill would then go before President Trump to sign or veto.

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