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Andrew Harnik / AP

For all of the talk that this might finally be House Republicans' chance to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the big picture is that there's still a bitter divide within the party — though it's now separating the moderates from everyone else — and the whole effort is still wildly unpopular.

They're closer to the goal of fulfilling a campaign promise, but they're about to take a vote that will be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as abandoning sick people.

  • The new amendment by Rep. Tom MacArthur, a leader of the moderate Tuesday Group, has shifted the health care bill substantially to the right. It's not everything conservatives wanted on loosening the ACA's insurance mandates, but there's more in it for them than for moderates.
  • The endorsement of the conservative Freedom Caucus was big step forward for Republicans, since they were some of the main holdouts. That may be bringing Republicans closer to 216 votes. "Making progress," one leadership aide said last night.
  • But it's not bringing any moderate Republicans on board. It may even be losing some: Rep. Mike Coffman, a supporter of the original bill, is now undecided, according to multiple reports. (The Hill has a good whip list.)
  • A Friday vote is looking less likely now, but not impossible.
  • The Rules Committee posted the amendment text last night, along with another amendment to make sure Congress isn't exempted — cleaning up what would have been a huge political embarrassment. But as of this morning, the committee hadn't scheduled a meeting yet.
  • Moderates are mad at MacArthur for negotiating the deal and mad at the Freedom Caucus, who they think are trying to turn the spotlight to them. "It's an exercise in blame-shifting," Rep. Charlie Dent said, per the Washington Post.
  • They're not going to get a lot of sympathy from conservatives, who point out that the moderates ran on repealing the ACA.
  • If the House schedules a vote soon, it's not going to have any analysis from the Congressional Budget Office to look at. So it won't have any idea how many states might apply for waivers from the required benefits or the ban on charging higher rates to sick people, or how many people might be affected.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
5 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. 

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