In shocker, Senate Republicans fail to strip health care from millions in dead of night

A remarkable thing happened in the Senate tonight. Enough Republican Senators realized that they could stop a bill that they did not want to become law by voting against it. The skinny Trumpcare bill failed, 49-51, when Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME), John McCain (AZ), and Lisa Murkowski (AK) voted no. We might have to say nice things about McCain for a while. Stupid Sen. Dean Heller (NV), who has the most to lose, did not take this opportunity and voted with his leader.

Enough Senate Republicans decided that they couldn’t use the excuse House Speaker Paul Ryan gave them in his half-hearted endorsement of the House and Senate going to a conference committee to vote for this thing. They didn’t want to  kick sixteen million people off of their health insurance next year. Or maybe they were just embarrassed by the whole dismal farce of a legislative process this whole

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CBO scores skinny Trumpcare: 16 million lose coverage, premiums increase 20 percent by next year

We’ve got skinny Trumpcare or Zombie Trumpcare 5.0—or the John McCain Surrenders the Last Shreds of His Integrity bill—finally on the floor and the CBO worked fast to figure out what it’s going to do.

What it’s going to do is kick 16 million people out of their health insurance in the next year. An election year. Because the bill doesn’t include Medicaid, by some miracle, the loss of insurance is somewhat curtailed compared to other bills the Republicans have been struggling with.  Besides that, it’s going to increase premiums in the non-group market “by roughly 20 percent relative to current law in all years between 2018 and 2026.” It’s also going to mean a death spiral kicks in, because as fewer healthy people sign up, the higher premiums go and more insurers leave the markets.

That’s as it stands now. The House may or may not decide to

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The new number two in the Interior Department: A lobbyist against environmental protections

Even in the context of Donald Trump’s other anti-government, pro-corporate hires, his choice of industry lobbyist David Bernhardt for the No. 2 position in the Department of the Interior is remarkably cynical.

Bernhardt, who ran the natural resources department at lobbying and law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has spent the last several years working on behalf of oil and gas companies and large agribusiness to weaken environmental protections.

His lobbying appears to have continued into this current year:

The Campaign for Accountability accused Bernhardt of continuing to lobby for a client, the Westlands Water District in California, after withdrawing his registration as a lobbyist last November, the Washington Post reported Friday. In a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate the claim, the group contended Bernhardt edited a draft executive order for then-President-elect Donald Trump involving water issues that stood to benefit Westlands Water.

The suggestion here is

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John McCain and friends demand that Paul Ryan doesn’t let the bill they want to pass become law

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ_, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) all really, really don’t want the skinny Trumpcare bill they are going to vote on in the coming hours to become law. They really, really hate it. They just held a press conference to say so.
 
Johnson says “‘virtually nothing we’re doing in any of these bills’ are keeping their promise to fix the problems with health care.” Graham called it a “fraud,” “disaster,” “pig in a poke” and also “half-assed.” McCain, again, said they needed some bipartisanship here.

So they’re all voting against it, right? Wrong.

This whole exercise was to say that they are going to vote for this bill just as long as House Speaker Paul Ryan promises he won’t let it become law. They are demanding a bipartisan conference committee with input from all the governors. And what will

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Senate Republicans continue to pretend like McConnell isn’t totally screwing them on Trumpcare

The wheels are falling off this thing we call Congress over Trumpcare, and it’s all going to come down to whether anyone can trust Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan. Which means we, as a nation, are fucked. At the lunch today in which Senate Republicans were supposed to be writing the next iteration of the bill—the one that leadership said would pass tonight—the discussion instead was “focused on whether they can be assured House won’t pass skinny, will conference. Senate doesn’t want it to become law.”

Just let that sink in: they don’t want the bill they are about to pass—the bill that they promised was coming for the last fucking seven years—to become law. From what it looks like, McConnell made that promise to them.

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A helluva way to run a government: House, Senate, Republicans in utter chaos over Trumpcare

We’ve seen an awful lot of chaos on repealing Obamacare, that thing that was going to happen on day one of the Trump administration. Seven years after Republicans vowed to repeal it and seven months into 2017 and Senate Republicans might have cobbled together a bill over lunch that might just be a shell to go to conference with the House, or might be the bill the House passes, and it might get enough votes or it might not depending on if anyone knows what they’re doing. Maybe?

This is a story that can only be told in tweets.

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Is Nevada Sen. Dean Heller going to continue to hit himself over the head with bad Trumpcare votes?

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, the most vulnerable Senate Republican in 2018, had a very, very bad Wednesday—downright humiliating. After getting totally bashed by state activists for his caving in to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and voting to move forward with a bill to strip health coverage away from tens of thousands of Nevadans, he decided he’d better do something—and something stupidly symbolic was all he could come up with.

That was an amendment “To express the sense of the Senate that Medicaid expansion is a priority and that Obamacare must be improved.” It was defeated 10-90. That’s just humiliating. His attempt was so obviously shallow and stupid that only 10 of his colleagues were wiling to embarrass themselves by associating with it.

Meanwhile, Heller declared he would happily back a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare as long as it left Medicaid intact. “We’ll see at the end of the day what’s

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