Alexander: Trump should make ACA payments

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Sen. Lamar Alexander wants the Trump administration to keep funding the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing subsidies — without necessarily waiting for Congress to provide the money. The Senate HELP Committee chairman said in a statement that the administration should "find a way, either through administrative action or legislation or a combination" to keep the subsidy payments coming "at least through 2018 — and probably should go ahead and do it through 2019."

Between the lines: What's notable here is Alexander's openness to the administration propping up this program on its own. He has said many times that Congress should appropriate funding for the cost-sharing subsidies. But insurers have to make their decisions about whether to participate by next week, and Congress couldn't act that quickly even if it wanted to. (And many Republicans don't want to.) A commitment from the White House is probably the best insurance companies are going to get.

Reminder: A federal judge has said this arrangement — the White House funding cost-sharing subsidies without an appropriation — is unconstitutional.

What's next

University of Minnesota student jailed in China over tweets

Xi Jinping. Photo: Noel Celis - Pool/ Getty Images

A University of Minnesota student has been arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States, according to a Chinese court document viewed by Axios. Some of the tweets contained images deemed to be unflattering portrayals of a "national leader."

Why it matters: The case represents a dramatic escalation of the Chinese government's attempts to shut down free speech abroad, and a global expansion of a Chinese police campaign a year ago to track down Twitter users in China who posted content critical of the Chinese government.

Go deeperArrow3 mins ago - World

⚖️ Live updates: Opening arguments begin in Trump impeachment trial

The second day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump will see a full day of opening arguments from Democratic House impeachment managers.

What to watch for: Democrats now have 24 hours — spread out over three days — to take their time to lay out their case against the president's alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It'll also allow them to highlight gaps that could be filled out by additional witnesses and documents from the administration.

This post will be updated with new developments as the trial continues.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020 - Politics

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