Koch Network Promises Millions to Block Health Bill

“The conservative Koch network is promising to spend millions of dollars to defeat the health care overhaul backed by President Donald Trump and top House Republicans,” the AP reports.

“The announcement, which comes on the eve of the House vote, marks the influential conservative network’s most aggressive move against the health care proposal, which is under attack from the right and the left.”

Republicans Quickly Rewriting Much of Health Bill

“Just hours before an expected Thursday vote in the House, congressional Republicans are considering massive changes to insurance coverage without even a basic idea of what those changes would mean,” the Huffington Post reports.

“According to House Freedom Caucus members, the conservative group is negotiating directly with President Donald Trump and the White House on an amendment to the Republican health care bill, seemingly cutting out GOP leadership from the conversation as Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his deputies work to corral votes for a bill that is, in these latest provisions, a mystery even to them.”

“The re-opening of negotiations is an admission of what has been clear all along ― that the bill as constructed by Ryan does not have the votes to pass on Thursday.”

FBI Has Information on Trump Coordination with Russia

“The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” US officials told CNN.

“The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings… The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.”

Senate Landscape Not As Rosy for GOP As It Once Was

Stuart Rothenberg: “If Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election, the GOP would now be headed to a dramatic 6-8 seat Senate gain next year, maybe even more, if history is any guide.”

“But with Donald Trump in the White House, Republican prospects are much less certain.”

“That doesn’t mean the GOP can’t or won’t have a successful 2018 cycle in the Senate. Given the Senate seats up, the president’s party could still win half a dozen seats or more. But there is no doubt that Trump’s victory in 2016 changed the national political environment in a way that makes next year’s midterms much more challenging for his party.”

Nunes Claims Trump Transition Was Under Surveillance

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said that members of the Trump transition team, possibly including Trump himself, “were under surveillance during the Obama administration following November’s election,” Politico reports.

“Nunes said the surveillance appears to have been legal, incidental collection and that it does not appear to have been related to concerns over collusion with Russia.”

Trump Approval Sinks to New Low

A new Quinnipiac survey finds President Trump is losing support among Republicans, white voters and men, leaving him with a negative 37% to 56% job approval rating from American voters, his worst score ever.

Said pollster Tim Malloy: “Most alarming for Trump, the demographic underpinnings of his support, Republicans, white voters, especially men and those without a college degree, are starting to have doubts.”

23 GOP Lawmakers Now Oppose Health Care Bill

According to The Hill, there are now 23 Republicans lawmakers who publicly say they will vote against the GOP health care bill in the House tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, a House Freedom Caucus spokeswoman tells Politico that more than 25 members are opposed.

Republicans cannot have more than 22 defections for the bill to pass.

For members: What If the GOP Health Care Bill Dies in the House?

Republicans Could Be Down Another Vote in the Senate

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), a reliable supporter of the GOP leadership’s legislative priorities, “is out indefinitely after two back surgeries. His office says he is trying to come back to the Senate as quickly as possible but it’s not clear whether he will return in time for the Obamacare debate,” Politico reports.

Without Isakson, it may be impossible to pass a health care bill before the recess.

Said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA): “We’ve got all these big votes coming up. He’ll be here as quick as he can. I just know Johnny well enough to know he’ll be here before his doctors even say it’s OK. He’ll be back here when we need him.”

Is McConnell’s Plan to Lose Fast?

Jonathan Chait: “Trumpcare may or may not grind out enough votes to pass the House. In the Senate, it’s hopelessly short of the 50 votes it needs. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has laid out a wildly aggressive time frame, under which his chamber would essentially xerox the House bill and pass it into law within a few days — no hearings, no negotiations. A few weeks ago, I suggested the possibility that McConnell’s plan was not wildly aggressive but actually designed to fail. His latest comments make this scenario seem far more likely.”

Said McConnell: “We’re not slowing down. We will reach a conclusion on health care next week. We’ll either pass something that will achieve a goal that we’ve been working on. Or not.”

“The only possible way a health-care bill could pass the Senate would be a heroic feat of negotiation to bridge the chasm between Republicans who think the House bill provides too much care (Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz) and those who think it provides too little (a group numbering perhaps as many as a dozen, depending on how one interprets various fretting remarks). Republicans can lose no more than two votes in the upper chamber.”

GOP Health Care Bill Only Helps the Wealthy

A new Urban Institute analysis finds that the typical family making less than $10,000 will lose $1,420 if the Republican health care plan passes, while the average family making $200,000 or more would gain $5,640.

Vox: “It’s not surprising that cutting taxes on the rich while gutting health coverage for the poor and middle class has regressive consequences. But the numbers the Urban analysts arrive at are still shocking. People making more than $1 million a year would get an average tax cut of $51,410.”

Jonathan Chait: 7 charts explain the horrors of Trumpcare.

Fact-Checking Lawmaker Letters to Constituents

“As the debate to repeal the law heats up in Congress, constituents are flooding their representatives with notes of support or concern, and the lawmakers are responding, sometimes with form letters that are misleading. A review of more than 200 such letters by ProPublica and its partners at Kaiser Health News, Stat and Vox, found dozens of errors and mischaracterizations about the ACA and its proposed replacement. The legislators have cited wrong statistics, conflated health care terms and made statements that don’t stand up to verification.”

“It’s not clear if this is intentional or if the lawmakers and their staffs don’t understand the current law or the proposals to alter it. Either way, the issue of what is wrong — and right — about the current system has become critical as the House prepares to vote on the GOP’s replacement bill Thursday.”