Mar 6, 2017

Obamacare replacement dead on arrival without Medicaid protection, GOP senators warn

J. Scott Applewhite AP

Four senators from states that expanded Medicaid on Monday said they won't support a bill that takes the same approach to the program as a leaked Obamacare repeal and replacement bill did. This means the House bill set to be released tonight could be dead on arrival.

Sens. Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito, Cory Gardner and Lisa Murkowski wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:

"The February 10th draft proposal from the House does not meet the test of stability for individuals currently enrolled in the program and we will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states."

But Politico reported shortly before the letter was released that the new version of the House bill will still phase out Medicaid expansion and will transition to a per-person cap on federal Medicaid funding. It will also spend less money over time on the program than under the old version of the bill. This is highly unlikely to solve the senators' problems with the bill.

What the Feb. 10 House bill does:

  • Switches federal Medicaid funding from the current open-ended matching system to the per-person cap.
  • Repeals the expansion in 2020. States could still cover their expansion populations, but would get much less federal money to do so.

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Pelosi warns U.S. allies against working with China's Huawei

Nancy Pelosi on Feb. 16. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday cautioned U.S. allies against allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop their 5G networks, arguing at the Munich Security Conference that doing so is akin to “choosing autocracy over democracy," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Pelosi's hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.

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Judge sets "scheduling" conference call ahead of Roger Stone sentencing

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U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has requested a Feb. 18 "scheduling" conference call in the Roger Stone case, two days before the former Trump associate is set to be sentenced.

Why it matters: Stone's defense team on Friday filed a sealed motion for a new trial — the second time they've done so — amid allegations of juror bias and a growing controversy over Attorney General Bill Barr's intervention in the case.

Biden says Bloomberg's money can't "erase" his record

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Michael Bloomberg's vast fortune cannot "erase" his record, and that scrutiny of Bloomberg's positions on things like race and policing will ramp up now that he's in the national spotlight.

Why it matters: Biden's polling free fall in the wake of poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire has coincided with a surge for Bloomberg, who appeals to a similar moderate bloc of the Democratic Party. The billionaire's limitless spending capacity poses an especially stark threat to Biden, who has struggled with fundraising.