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Alex Brandon/AP

Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this morning that all of Obamacare's taxes, which are used to finance the law, need to be repealed. As chairman of the Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over the taxes, his voice could be a deciding one.

After spending seven years talking about the harm being caused by these taxes, it's difficult to switch gears now and decide that they're fine so long as they're being used to pay for OUR healthcare bill.

There's been disagreement among Republicans about whether to repeal the taxes — including taxes on health insurers and medical device makers — along with the subsidies and mandates. The repeal bill will be handled through a budget process called reconciliation, which avoids a filibuster. The problem is that not all of Obamacare can be replaced through this method, so some members are worried that repealing the taxes now will make it hard to pay for an eventual full replacement.

What to watch: Whether worried Republicans fall into line with the chairman, or whether they continue to try to keep the taxes temporarily.

Go deeper

33 mins ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Dave Lawler, author of World
53 mins ago - World

Biden's big Saudi reset

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.