Feb 7, 2017

Is it repeal o'clock yet?


So far, most of the conservative groups that have been pushing Obamacare repeal the hardest — like Americans for Prosperity and Heritage Action — have pulled some punches as the effort has slowed. Even as Republicans' internal disagreements have become more obvious, they haven't hit hard against statements like Sen. Lamar Alexander's talk of "repair" rather than repeal. Now, they're going to start pushing Congress to get on with it.

"It's time for Congress to put out language — actual, specific language" for repeal and replacement bills, Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips told me. He didn't sound worried about President Trump's comments to Bill O'Reilly Sunday about the repeal work possibly continuing into next year: "We're more focused on getting language."

Top Republicans insist they're still on the case, and that they're still united in their goal of repealing and replacing the law, as Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch said in a floor speech yesterday. But the lack of movement in the committees has become pretty obvious. Here's the evidence House Speaker Paul Ryan's office cited yesterday to prove that Congress is doing things on repeal:

  • The House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee is working on two Medicaid bills this morning: one to make it harder for wealthy couples to get Medicaid, the other to make sure it's not spending money on lottery winners.
  • The House Small Business Committee is holding a hearing.
  • Tom Price may be confirmed later this week.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

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Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

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