Mar 23, 2017

Obamacare repeal loses support of key GOP moderate

The leader of the moderate faction in the House, Charlie Dent, issued a statement late Wednesday evening saying he can't support the current healthcare bill. Key quote:

"I believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans, particularly for low-to-moderate income and older individuals ... I hope that the House can step back from this vote and arbitrary deadline to focus on getting health care reform done right to ensure that American families have access to affordable health care."

Between the lines: Dent's statement is obviously catastrophic for the bill in its current form. But it should also be interpreted as a shot at the Freedom Caucus, which is in the midst of negotiating a deal with the White House to make the bill substantially more conservative. This is Dent, as leader of the moderate Tuesday Group, providing cover for the moderates. He's signaling that they won't be bullied into voting for a bill that could turn the 2018 midterms into a bloodbath.

What's next: The House GOP conference is meeting at 9am. We'll have a better idea then how many moderates have been lost if the bill makes a last minute lurch to the right.

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America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.