Jun 19, 2017

Axios PM

Secrets, stress and special elections

The secretly written health care bill, which the White House and Senate are ramming toward a pre-July 4 vote, ran into new headaches today:

  • Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, found that the House version of repeal-and-replace, which will be changed by the Senate, but has helped crystallize public opinion, is deeply unpopular in three states where a Republican Senator will have a key swing vote on health care (Nevada, West Virginia and Alaska).
  • Axios' Caitlin Owens uncovered key details today about the draft Senate health care bill: It would move to the left of the House bill by easing the phaseout of the Medicaid expansion. But it would also move to the right by eventually shifting to a lower Medicaid growth rate.

Tomorrow, the special election in Georgia


which has turned into the most expensive House race in history, will help set the early midterm fundraising and recruiting tempo for the parties.

In the past, it might have been an easy win for Republican Karen Handel over Democrat Jon Ossoff. But the district is affluent and diversifying, hardly Trump country.

  • To the dismay of Republicans involved in the white-knuckle race, Trump tweeted this morning: "The Dems want to stop tax cuts, good healthcare and Border Security. … ObamaCare is dead with 100% increases in P's. Vote now for Karen H."
  • A Republican operative explained the "D'oh!" effect: "We used every trick in the book — and a few new chapters — to localize the race. Trump tweets nationalized poor Karen's message and knocked her off the basic message that he is an outsider and she is one of us."

Also driving the day ...

What you missed
  1. From the world of fantasy sports: Federal regulators are blocking a merger between Draft Kings and FanDuel. The responses.
  2. The new Trump surrogate: Jay Sekulow is Trump's main lawyer on TV, and he's already courted controversy. Meet him.
  3. Russia's threat: A U.S. fighter shot down a Syrian plane yesterday. The Russians aren't thrilled. Their warning.
  4. Spicer off-camera reminder: In a no-video, no-audio briefing today, Sean Spicer teased an answer on the Trump tapes and faced questions on Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein. Highlights.
  5. Vice makes it rain $: The media company took in a new round of funding on a $5.7 billion valuation. The numbers.
1 "whoa" thing

Jared Kushner, who rarely talks in public, made his first remarks as a White House official today. Watch.