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Greg Ruben / Axios

Here's the reality that President Trump and Republican leaders are facing: They want to repeal Obamacare, but not the popular parts of Obamacare. But to the most conservative Republicans, and their supporters, repeal means repeal — which includes everything, whether it's popular or not.

That's why Trump and GOP leaders haven't been able to close the deal with the Freedom Caucus, and will have to try to steamroller them with today's vote. It's why they have the Koch brothers after them. And it's why, barring a miraculous turnaround, they're not getting any closer to a deal that can survive the Senate as well as the House.

Here's where things stand as of this morning:

  • The House is voting on Trumpcare today, whether they have the votes or not. Why? Because Trump told them to.
  • Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney "made it clear that they were done negotiating, and this is a conservative package that lowers costs," House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady told reporters last night. Jonathan Swan has great details of how Trump's ultimatum went down.
  • The big concession White House and GOP leaders are making to conservatives: They're going to get rid of Obamacare's "essential health benefit" requirements, which were untouched in the original bill. Under the new language, states would define them.
  • But the Freedom Caucus wanted to go beyond that, into the rest of Obamacare's insurance regulations — which include popular things like covering anyone with pre-existing conditions, making sure sick people can't be charged more, coverage of young adults, coverage of preventive care, and standards for how much of a person's medical expenses are covered.
  • If Trump and GOP leaders had agreed to wipe out the pre-existing condition coverage, they would have lost one of their main pitches for the Republican plan: Don't worry, sick people will still be covered. "I think that's been something that he's been very clear needs to stay in there," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.
  • But Freedom Caucus members and other conservatives say all of the insurance regulations make insurance more expensive — so to be consistent, they should all go. (Freedom Caucus member Mark Sanford's Obamacare replacement bill would deal with pre-existing conditions by giving sick people two years to enroll in coverage.)
  • The Washington Post reports that Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows wanted to get rid of not just the rules against charging more for sick people, but also provisions that most Republicans have sworn they would never touch, like the ban on annual and lifetime limits on health benefits.
  • Meadows was still a "no" as of last night.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."