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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O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

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Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

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Iranian state TV: Hardliners win landslide victory in low-turnout election

Photo: Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Sunday that hardliners won a landslide victory in the country's parliamentary elections two days ago, including all 30 seats in Tehran, AP reports.

Why it matters: Voter turnout in the election only reached 42.57%, according to Iran's interior ministry, the first time turnout dipped below 50% since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The low turnout may signal dissatisfaction with the Iranian government and the election system.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World