May 19, 2017

Ryan doesn't think House will need a health care re-vote

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan is dismissing reports that the House might have to vote on the health care bill again because the Congressional Budget Office may say it missed its budget targets. "We don't think that's the case ... It's just a technical non-issue," Ryan said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show this morning.

He said a CBO estimate of an earlier version of the bill showed it saved $150 billion over 10 years, and that the only change the House made since then was "an $8 billion amendment" — a fund to help cover people with pre-existing conditions.

Reality check: That's not the only change the House made. It also added state waivers from ACA insurance regulations, and private estimates have suggested those could actually increase costs if they encourage more people to buy health coverage, as Vox's Dylan Scott explains.

What's next: Watch for the CBO estimate of the final bill next week. A re-vote is probably still unlikely, but the situation is more complicated than Ryan suggests.

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Grassley to hold up pair of nominations until Trump explains IG firings

Grassley questions Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on June 3 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Thursday that he will block the confirmation of two of President Trump's nominees until the White House provides "adequate explanations" for why the inspectors general for the intelligence community and State Department were ousted in the past two months.

Why it matters: It's a rare attempt by a Republican to hold Trump accountable for his recent purge of federal watchdogs. Grassley has long considered himself a defender of inspectors general.

John Kelly defends James Mattis against Trump attacks

John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

Barr claims "no correlation" between removing protesters and Trump's church photo op

Attorney General Bill Barr said at a press conference Thursday that there was "no correlation" between his decision to order police to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Park and President Trump's subsequent visit to St. John's Episcopal Church earlier this week.

Driving the news: Barr was asked to respond to comments from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Tuesday that he "did not know a photo op was happening" and that he does everything he can to "try and stay out of situations that may appear political."