Jun 24, 2017

The Senators who will decide health care

AP

Yesterday's public waffling by Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) put the healthcare bill in sudden danger that almost certainly will mean notable changes.

Assuming Vice President Pence as tie-breaker, the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republicans,and at least eight have expressed misgivings about the bill as currently written.

We asked a high-level source close to Senate leadership for a danger gradient of who is most at risk of defecting. From the source's texts:

1. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine: "She wants to remain engaged in negotiations so makes sense not to foreclose the option to vote 'yes.' But there is no way she'll vote for this bill, just on pro-life protections alone."

2. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky: "He's talking about getting a 60-vote threshold revamp of [Obamacare]. ... He wants this bill to fail. In that vacuum, he feels his bill will get more steam. ... The principle instead of outcomes. Which is admirable. But can't really legislate that way."

3. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah: "I do think he wants to get to 'yes.' I think he realizes that if this fails, it kills the reconciliation vehicle and possibly the chance to repeal major elements of Obamacare. But his vote will come [with] major improvements that may or cannot be accommodated by the budget rules constraining recon."

4. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada: "If I were Heller and the possible 50th vote, I'd make damn sure to negotiate a big win for Nevada. He has other priorities beyond healthcare. Yucca [Mountain nuclear dump, which he opposes] is one that could possibly be on the line here if he goes up against the President and fellow Rs."

5. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: "The bill could be improved by amendment to improve Alaska's standing."

6. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado (NRSC chair): "I think Gardner will be OK."

7. Ditto for Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, one of the four conservatives — along with Paul, Lee and Ted Cruz — who rained on the bill's introduction with a joint letter saying they were "not ready to vote for this bill."

8. And Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, looking to his party future.

Paragraph of the day WashPost A1, "In health-care bill, two prized Republican goals converge," by Damian Paletta: "[L]ong-term conservative goals of cutting taxes and entitlement spending have overtaken Trump's agenda ... The legislation would sharply break with pledges Trump made during the 2016 campaign to block reductions in Medicaid spending and to deliver tax cuts primarily to the middle class."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 5,589,626 — Total deaths: 350,453 — Total recoveries — 2,286,956Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:00 p.m. ET: 1,680,913 — Total deaths: 98,913 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

There are no COVID-19 patients in hospital in New Zealand, which reported just 21 active cases after days of zero new infections. A top NZ health official said Tuesday he's "confident we have broken the chain of domestic transmission."

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.9 million tests).

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Coronavirus antibody tests are still relatively unreliable, and it's unclear if people who get the virus are immune to getting it again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Tuesday.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.