Feb 15, 2017

What's less than "Obamacare Lite," but more than nothing?

Carolyn Kaster/AP

That's going to be the key to whether Republicans can bring their factions together to actually pass a repeal bill. They're not going to get a lot of their members with a straight repeal and no replacement, and House Speaker Paul Ryan is still pitching his "Better Way" plan as the template for their replacement goals.

But the Freedom Caucus and other hardliners are making it clear they don't want to pass anything that could be seen as "Obamacare Lite," as Rep. Raul Labrador put it yesterday. Outside conservative groups have been warning about that too. They don't want Republicans to try to measure their replacement by Democrats' goals, including trying to cover as many people, because they don't think Republicans will ever beat Democrats at that.

Key quote: " If we're just going to come back with something that does the same thing, but changes a couple of things and we just call it TrumpCare or RyanCare, then what was our fight about for the last six years?" — Labrador

Yes, but: Not everyone in Republican circles is sweating it. "We're doing the same repeal we did last time and adding as much replace as possible, which is what everyone says they want," one senior GOP aide told me. And don't forget, the conservatives have every incentive to push for "repeal first" as much as they can — but no Republican has any incentive to let the whole effort fall apart.

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Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to restructure the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.

Go deeper: Six of the biggest U.S. banks have weaknesses in their crisis plans

The new not-normal: The Trump state

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Donald Trump changed how to run for president. Next, he changed the Republican Party. Now, he’s changing the presidency and the boundaries of executive power. 

In the past week, Trump has purged internal dissenters, imported loyalists, pardoned political and financial criminals and continued a running commentary on live Justice Department criminal cases — despite an unprecedented public brushback from his attorney general.

Bloomberg's rough debut

Photo: John Locher/AP

Mike Bloomberg was booed during his debut debate as a Democratic presidential candidate — indicative of a rusty outing where the former New York mayor looked unprepared to respond to obvious lines of attack.

Why it matters ... The debate underscored the Bloomberg’s campaign biggest fear: It's hard to hide to his prickly demeanor. Bloomberg had all the time, practice and forewarning money could buy — and still struggled mightily on the public stage.