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Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) expressed disapproval on Sunday of the Trump administration's decision to continue backing a lawsuit seeking to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act.

What he's saying: "I thought the Justice Department argument was really flimsy," Alexander said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "What they're arguing is that when we voted to get rid of the individual mandate, we voted to get rid of Obamacare. I don't know one single senator who thought that."

The big picture: The lawsuit by a coalition of Republican states is set to be heard by the Supreme Court this fall, with major implications for November's election.

  • CNN reports that Attorney General Bill Barr has urged the White House to soften its hard line and change its position to preserve parts of the law, rather than fully backing the lawsuit.
  • Last week, however, President Trump said the administration will not change its position, telling reporters: "Obamacare is a disaster, but we've run it very well, and we've made it barely acceptable ... What we want to do is terminate it and give health care. We'll have great health care, including preexisting conditions."
  • The administration has not proposed a replacement for the law.

Go deeper

O'Brien on deterring Russian meddling: "There’s almost nothing left to sanction"

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien on Sunday defended President Trump's track record on deterring Russian interference in the U.S. election, telling NBC's "Meet the Press": "We've put so many sanctions on Russia there's almost nothing left to sanction."

Why it matters: A top counterintelligence official revealed in a statement Aug. 7 that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election, while China and Iran would prefer that Trump is defeated.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker