- Jonathan Swan
- 5 hrs ago
Axios Sourced: the Scaramucci vs. Reince power struggle
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
The Senate has officially taken up legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act — overcoming a hurdle Republicans weren't sure they could clear just a few days ago. Fifty Republican senators voted to start the debate, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie.
How it happened: Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, sitting next to each other in the Senate chamber, voted against the motion, along with all 46 Democrats and two Democrat-leaning independents. Protesters in the galleries shouted "Kill the bill! Don't kill us!" and "Shame!"
The big moment: The standing ovation for Sen. John McCain as he walked in to vote for the motion.
One tense moment: Sen. Ron Johnson, another Republican who has expressed concerns, had a long talk on the floor with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell before casting his vote. He voted yes, right after McCain.
What's next: Twenty hours of debate, followed by votes on the Senate's repeal and replacement plan and a 2015 bill that would repeal much of the ACA without replacing it. If both fail, all votes will be to amend the House-passed health care bill, which is the vehicle they're technically starting with.
We can't rule out other versions of repeal, either. Even McCain, in a floor speech with all of the senators listening, made it clear he wants changes in the Senate bill: "I will not vote for the bill as it is today."
The bottom line: No one knows if any of the repeal proposals can pass the Senate — but it will be harder for Senate Republicans to give up and shelve the effort now that they've gotten this far.
Carolyn Kaster / AP
President Trump slipped into campaign mode Tuesday evening before an enthusiastic crowd in Youngstown, Ohio. He repeated his claim that he's accomplished more than almost any other president during his first six months in office, getting some of his biggest cheers of the night by comparing himself to the greats:
Andrew Harnik / AP
Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled out a new strategy to push back against sanctuary cities today, adding two new conditions for cities to obtain popular grants for local law enforcement from the Department of Justice:
Why it matters: Even as Trump hints at firing his attorney general both publicly and privately, Sessions is continuing to implement DOJ policy that's perfect red meat for Trump's base — and, indeed, Trump himself.
Evan Vucci / AP
The House passed a bill Tuesday that would place new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea by a 419-3 vote. The Senate passed a similar bill in June, by a 98-2 margin.
Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement saying: "The bill we just passed with overwhelming bipartisan support is one of the most expansive sanctions packages in history. It tightens the screws on our most dangerous adversaries in order to keep Americans safe."
The House bill requires congressional review of any actions President Trump wishes to take to relieve the sanctions, and the administration has argued that would limit Trump's ability to deal with Russia. But the wide margins mean Trump will have to either sign the bill, or risk an override of his veto.
What's next: This version of the bill heads to the Senate for approval.
BTC Keychain / Flickr CC
After an investigation, the Securities and Exchange Commission has concluded that organizations offering or selling digital assets using blockchains or distributed ledgers may be subject to securities laws, depending on the circumstances. This includes "initial coin offerings" (ICOs), a recently popularized crowdfunding method by which an organization issues virtual currencies or tokens.
Why it matters: ICOs are becoming increasingly popular among some circles of technologists. So far, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised through ICOs, including the most recent record-breaker, Tezos, which brought in $232 million earlier this month.
Top concern: The SEC says that its main concern is ensuring that investors partake in these offerings and sales with full knowledge of the risks. By making these sales subject to securities laws, organizations will have to comply with disclosure requirements.
Origin: The SEC's investigation stems from an inquiry into The DAO, a decentralized organization that intended to operate as an investment fund managed by shareholders and raised its funds through an ICO. However, in June 2016, it was hacked and some of its funds were syphoned. The SEC has concluded that it doesn't qualify as a broker-dealer or crowdfunding portal, though the commission won't pursue charges in this case — instead choosing to simply issue guidance to the industry.
More investor info: The SEC also issued an investors' guide in handling ICOs and similar digital asset sales.
Trump is seated between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in the State Dinning Room during yesterday's tech summit (AP's Alex Brandon)
Apple is declining to comment on any plans to expand domestic manufacturing after President Trump told the Wall Street Journal that the iPhone maker was planning three "big, beautiful plants" in the U.S.
Trump didn't say where the plants would be, but did add that they would be "big, big, big."
Worth noting: Apple uses contract manufacturers, mostly in Asia, to assemble nearly all its products, while a number of its suppliers have operations in the U.S. Thus, any domestic expansion is likely to come in conjunction with a supplier or contract manufacturer. Apple has also committed to investing another $1 billion in US manufacturers through an advanced manufacturing fund and is taking a $1 billion stake in SoftBank's $100 billion Vision Fund, which plans to make investments in US-based manufacturing.
Trump's hand: In the interview, Trump said he told Apple CEO Tim Cook that he wouldn't consider his administration's economic efforts a success if Apple didn't shift some work to the U.S.
Wong Maye-E / AP
North Korea is on the course to be able to field a reliable, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) as early as next year, according to a confidential report from the Defense Intelligence Agency, per The Washington Post. This prediction now matches more closely the revised estimations coming from South Korea.
Why it matters: That jumps the timeline forward by two full years and ramps up the pressure on the U.S. and regional allies to halt North Korean progress. Kent Boydston, a research analyst at the Petersen Institute for International Economics, told Axios this will likely make the U.S. calls for isolating North Korea financially stronger. Boydston added that this will "make any kind of South Korea to North Korea engagement increasingly unlikely."
Why the change: As Tom Karako, senior fellow on the Missile Defense Project at CSIS, told Axios, "the activity of the last few years has been especially intense. It's not really a surprise that they're getting a closer to no-kidding ICBM deployment." Pyongyang has advanced its fuel and missile capabilities beyond what experts anticipated was possible, and its July 4 test of a missile capable of hitting parts of Alaska showed U.S. officials just how close the North Korean threat is according to Scott Bray, ODNI manager for East Asia.
What to watch:
The DIA and ODNI declined to comment on classified assessments.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
The Senate parliamentarian has ruled that more provisions of the Better Care Reconciliation Act — the Senate's Affordable Care Act replacement bill — don't comply with budget rules, meaning they'd need 60 votes to pass. These include a provision allowing insurers to charge older people more in premiums than under current law — the provision AARP has called an "age tax" — and the provision allowing small businesses to sell "association health plans," an important GOP priority.
However, the provision allowing states to choose to receive a Medicaid block grant, rather than a per-person funding cap, does comply with budget rules, meaning it only needs 50 votes like the rest of the bill. A provision broadening the ACA's state innovation waivers to include more of the law's regulations is still pending review.
Why it matters: The Senate bill was already struggling to win support among enough Republicans, and shedding more big pieces isn't going to help.
Mike Mozart / Flickr Creative Commons
AT&T said Tuesday that it now has nearly 500,000 subscribers in its Internet-based DirecTV Now video service. That comes amid continued losses in its traditional DirecTV video service.
DirecTV Now also faces a host of Internet-based competition, including Hulu, Dish Networks' Sling, Sony's PlayStation Vue and Google's YouTube TV. Sling leads the back, according to Ad Age, with an estimated 1.7 million subscribers, while Sony has around 450,000. Nielsen said earlier today it plans to start counting Hulu and YouTube TV along with the other leading TV services.
Earnings up, Revenue down: Overall, AT&T posted per-share earnings 79 cents, a nickel ahead of expectation and up nearly 10 percent from the prior year. Revenues, though were down a bit from a year-ago, to $39.8 billion amid weakness in both wireline and consumer wireless.
Phone business tough: AT&T said it added 2.3 million wireless customers in the U.S., but as has been the case for a couple years now, nearly all the gains came from connected cars and other non-phone devices.
Cliff Owen / AP
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he looks forward to finalizing the health care bill through an open amendment process by the end of the week. But "this is just the beginning. We're not out here to spike the football," he said.
Majority Whip John Cornyn nodded to Sen. John McCain's speech calling for bipartisan cooperation. Open debate "could well be the beginning of that healing process for this institution."
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats took to the capital steps with a bull horn.
C-SPAN2 via AP
Sen. John McCain returned to the Senate floor for an impassioned speech, calling for both Republicans and Democrats to come together.
The big quote: "Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and the television and the internet — to hell with them! They don't want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood."
On a health care compromise: "We haven't found it yet, and I'm not sure we will…I will not vote for this bill as it is today. It's a shell of a bill right now. We all know that…If this process ends in failure, which seems likely, then let's return to regular order."
Worth considering: Just before his vote, McCain voted yes on a motion to proceed to debate a repeal of the Affordable Care Act — without knowing exactly what a repeal bill looks like and with full knowledge that the motion's failure would very likely force Sen. Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back to regular order.
More from McCain:
McCain: To hell with the bombastic loudmouths!
— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) July 25, 2017
The great irony of social media...
McCain's dramatic speech — Axios Sourced: Scaramucci vs. Reince — Trump keeps digging at Sessions — NFL brain study
Facebook turns on the messenger revenue — The rise of Flipboard — Ad tech cookie crumbles — IMGE breaks from IJR
Axios AM: Mike's Top 10 A startling phone call — Maps of Trump popularity, travel — Where Rs, Ds could agree — Girl Scout changes
E-commerce's next victim — The problem with AI-washing — China's race against the U.S.