Jul 6, 2017

Mike Lee draws a line on conservative health care amendment

Rick Bowmer / AP

Sen. Mike Lee won't vote for the Senate GOP health care bill without the addition of a controversial amendment he's championing with Sen. Ted Cruz — a position he has made clear to the White House and Senate Republican leaders.

"The entire bill is unacceptable without the Consumer Freedom Option," Conn Carroll, Lee's spokesman, wrote in an email. This proposal would allow insurers to sell health plans that don't comply with Affordable Care Act rules, like pre-existing conditions protections or essential health benefits, as long as they also sell plans that meet all of those rules. Critics from both parties say this could make it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage.

Why this matters: Saying he'll vote no without the conservative amendment is a harder line than just saying "the bill can be improved" (the line Cruz has been taking). But moderates are worried about both the policy and politics of potentially making coverage unaffordable for sick people, and senior GOP aides say touching pre-existing conditions protections will automatically sink the bill.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 5,626,047 — Total deaths: 351,815 — Total recoveries — 2,314,233Map.
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Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Live updates: SpaceX to launch historic crewed mission for NASA

The Falcon 9 rocket with a Crew Dragon atop. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX will attempt to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station today.

Why it matters: If all goes well, this launch — expected to happen at 4:33 p.m. ET — will mark the first time a private company has successfully launched people to orbit and the first crewed, orbital rocket launch from the U.S. in 9 years.

Follow along below for live coverage...

Pompeo tells Congress Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday that he has certified to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China and does not warrant special treatment under U.S. law.

Why it matters: Revoking Hong Kong's special status would hasten its economic and financial decline, already set in motion by China's growing political grip on the city. The preferential status that the U.S. has long granted Hong Kong has made the city a top U.S. trading partner.

Go deeper (1 min. read)ArrowUpdated 41 mins ago - World