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GOP holdout intros pre-existing condition amendment

Alex Brandon / AP

The House is about to give it one more try with the Republican health care bill. Rep. Fred Upton will introduce an amendment that would provide $8 billion over five years to help protect people with pre-existing conditions, an attempt to bring moderate holdouts to the table.

What the amendment does: It's a fund to pay the penalty for not being previously insured for those who get priced out from the market based on health status.

What spooked moderates: An amendment by Rep. Tom MacArthur that would allow states, in limited circumstances, to waive the Affordable Care Act's essential health benefits and ban on charging sick people higher premiums. People with pre-existing conditions could only be charged more based on health status if they had a lapse in health coverage, so these would be the people helped by Upton's amendment.

President Trump, VP Pence and Paul Ryan teamed up to call undecided House members yesterday, lobbying them to support the revised bill. A staff member for a wavering member told Axios his boss had heard from all three of them.

Early Wednesday morning, well-placed sources in the White House and in the House Republican conference told us the momentum was driving towards a vote on Thursday. The White House has been more bullish all along, and senior House sources have been consistently exasperated at administration officials setting artificial deadlines.

Senior House lawmakers remain concerned about the potential for the new, more moderate, language to unnerve the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus members. Members like Jim Jordan were reluctant to sign onto the original MacArthur amendment, and could easily be lost.

Steve LeVine 1 hour ago
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Self-driving lab head urges freeze after "nightmare" fatality

Uber self-driving car in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen / Getty

Carmakers and technology companies should freeze their race to field autonomous vehicles because "clearly the technology is not where it needs to be," said Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's leading self-driving laboratory.

What he said: Speaking a few hours after a self-driven vehicle ran over and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, Rajkumar said, "This isn't like a bug with your phone. People can get killed. Companies need to take a deep breath. The technology is not there yet. We need to keep people in the loop."

Zachary Basu 1 hour ago
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Report: Cambridge Analytica says it could use sex, bribes to "entrap politicians"

Cambridge Analytica
CEO of Cambridge Analytica Alexander Nix speaks at the 2016 Concordia Summit. Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

A 4-month undercover investigation conducted by the UK's Channel 4 News revealed that Cambridge Analytica has secretly campaigned in more than 200 elections around the world, using shady tactics that include bribery and prostitution in order to entrap politicians in compromising situations. The company says they "entirely refute" the allegations.

Why it matters: Cambridge Analytica worked for Donald Trump's campaign during the 2016 presidential elections, and is at the center of a controversy for its role in harvesting data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles. Facebook announced Monday that it has hired a digital forensics firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of the company.