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(J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Despite GOP senators' adamant declarations that they don't want their "skinny repeal" bill to become law if they pass it, there's at least a decent chance that's exactly what happens, some staffers openly say.

"Coin. Flipped," one senior aide responded when I asked what the chances were of the bill becoming law.

Yet GOP senators are saying the bill is merely a vehicle to get to a conference committee with the House, saying the policy itself is bad. "The skinny bill as policy is a disaster," Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters earlier Thursday.

An outlier: Sen. Mike Lee is evaluating the bill in its face, his office said, as if it passes it's "very" likely to become law. When asked why, spokesman Conn Carroll said it's the "path of least resistance."

And while some Republicans said they received further assurance from Speaker Paul Ryan on a call this evening, spokeswoman AshLee Strong said the speaker told them "exactly what his statement said: that we'll go to conference if they pass something tonight. And then the onus is on the Senate to show it can pass a real plan with 51 votes."

What could happen:

  • As House Republicans say openly, the Senate has yet to demonstrate it can come up with a replacement plan that gets 50 votes. There's yet to be a reason for this to change in conference.
  • If it turns out that once again nothing can pass the Senate, the House will still have the skinny repeal bill. And President Trump really, really wanting to sign something.
  • That puts a lot of pressure on the House to pass the bill. So if one thing leads to another, skinny repeal passes and becomes the law of the land.
  • Disclaimer: One senior House aide told me that "I don't think we can pass something completely anorexic."

Go deeper

7 mins ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.

Obama: Broad slogans like "defund the police" lose people

Snapchat.

Former President Barack Obama told Peter Hamby on the Snapchat original political show "Good Luck America" that "snappy" slogans such as "defund the police" can alienate people, making the statements less effective than intended.

What he's saying: "You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done," Obama told Hamby in an interview that will air Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. EST on Snapchat.

Nasdaq's ultimatum

Photo: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images

New diversity and inclusion rules are on the table for some of America's most powerful corporations, courtesy of one of its most powerful stock exchanges.

What's new: Nasdaq is threatening to delist companies that won't move toward having at least one woman and at least one underrepresented minority or LGBTQ person on their corporate boards.