May 6, 2017

Republicans are nervous about the future of AHCA

Evan Vucci / AP

Mark Shields said on PBS "NewsHour" last night what a lot of Republicans privately tell us they fear about health reform: "We've just seen the high water mark for this legislation."

A top Republican emails me: "I think the reality of the Senate process is setting in."

The legislation is likely to take a month or two to wend through the Senate. And Republicans are queasy about getting the likely result back through the House, then to President Trump's desk.

As Peter Baker told Bob Costa on "Washington Week" about the Rose Garden celebration:

"You had the president of the United States and dozens of members of his party there on the lawn, very boisterous, very happy, very jubilant about something that hasn't happened yet. It's one thing for the House to pass; that doesn't make it a law. ... So when he says that Obamacare is dead, Mark Twain would have something to say about that."

The vote's political fallout has been instant, emboldening Ds and chastening Rs:

Atop the N.Y. Times' column 1, "DEMOCRATS FOCUS ON BILL'S STANCE ON PRIOR ILLNESS: HEALTH CARE THIRD RAIL — Looking to 2018, With Stress on Pre-existing Conditions," by Alex Burns and Abby Goodnough: "Groups on the left posted graphics online listing pre-existing conditions that could, in theory, threaten health care coverage, with some shared hundreds of thousands or millions of times."

And Republicans have a self-inflicted reason to be defensive. After the white-guy photo from the House ceremony in the Rose Garden, CNN's Erin Burnett pointed out that 13 white men are tackling health care in the Senate: "There are big medical differences between men and women." Drops mic.

Axios AM prediction: Susan Collins will be added to the table.

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Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post at the end of the month, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health