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The president discovers a sure cure for economic anxiety

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President Trump wants to ban transgender Americans from the armed forces; we thank the discharged for their service and hope they will find comfort in Ivanka and Jared’s moderating influence. As a result of today’s political discourse, Americans that should be googling “skinny bill effects” are instead googling ”snatch a knot in their ass.”  And Mitch McConnell’s vote strategy reminded us of the infinite monkey theorem, which states that a monkey, given an infinite amount of time, would almost surely cobble together a health care bill that would satisfy both Susan Collins and Mike Lee. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 26th, 2017:

OBAMACARE REPEALERS FAIL TO REPEAL OBAMACARE - Ever get the feeling none of them even remembers why they’re still doing this? Jeffrey Young: “Senate Republicans again failed to approve legislation to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday. This time, it was a bill that would have eliminated funding for the Affordable Care Act’s private health insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion, its individual mandate that most Americans obtain health coverage or face tax penalties, its mandate that large companies offer health benefits to full-time employees, and its taxes on rich people and health care companies. This legislation didn’t include any means of replacing the Affordable Care Act…. The measure, known as as the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act, failed 45-55…. GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), John McCain (Ariz.), Shelley Moore Capito (W. Va.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rob Portman (Ohio) opposed the legislation.″ [HuffPost]

GOP WORKING ON ‘SKINNY BILL’ - Why do they have to go and body-shame a perfectly good attempt to kill millions of people? Jonathan Cohn and Matt Fuller: “As with every other proposal that has emerged in this rushed, mostly private effort to craft legislation, the precise details of the skinny bill and strategy for passing it remain unclear and in flux. But the basic idea would be to pass a bill dealing with just a few key elements of the Affordable Care Act, thereby postponing resolution of the biggest, most controversial issues that have divided the Republican caucus so far. House and Senate leaders would then try to negotiate a new, mutually acceptable version of legislation that they could bring back to each chamber.” [HuffPost]

John McCain still full of crap: “The Arizona senator voted against a motion proposed by Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) to commit the bill to the Senate Finance Committee…. Wednesday’s vote comes a day after McCain delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, where he implored his colleagues to work with one another and hold open committee hearings to craft legislation. [HuffPost’s Igor Bobic]

‘Moderates’ still squishy: “The Republican senators who qualify as ‘moderates’ in today’s Congress are running out of chances to stop legislation they have said repeatedly would be bad for their constituents and bad for the country. But it’s not clear whether they realize what’s happening ― or, ultimately, if they even care.” [HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn]

Haircuts: Paige Lavender (h/t Paige Lavender), Eliot Nelson (h/t besotted fans everywhere).  

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TRUMP MOVE TO BAN TRANSGENDER SERVICE MEMBERS CLEARLY NOT THOUGHT OUT -  If our armed forces are filled with people who can handle killing someone with their bare hands but not a dude who was born without a penis, then Canada should go ahead and invade. Marina Fang :”White House officials argued Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s seemingly sudden decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military could hurt the political prospects of Democrats, ignoring the bipartisan opposition to Trump’s announcement. Soon after Trump announced his decision in a series of tweets, a White House official told Axios reporter Jonathan Swan that it ‘forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue,’ citing the re-election chances of potentially vulnerable Democratic senators in 2018. Another White House official clarified to The Washington Post that politics ‘was never an impetus’ for Trump’s decision but said that “it will be fun to watch some of them [Democrats] have to defend this.’” [HuffPost]

Yep, rallying the troops. ”[S]everal Republican lawmakers, including those with military experience, quickly expressed their opposition as well, demonstrating bipartisan interest in the issue…. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ...argued against Trump’s ban, saying that anyone who is qualified to serve should be allowed to do so…. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), an Iraq War veteran, expressed similar opposition. ‘Americans who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be afforded that opportunity,’ she said in a statement.” [Ibid.]

HOW THIS HAPPENED - tl;dr: President didn’t think, he just tweeted. Rachael Bade and Josh Dawsey: “House Republicans were planning to pass a spending bill stacked with his campaign promises, including money to build his border wall with Mexico. But an internal House Republican fight over transgender troops was threatening to blow up the bill. And House GOP insiders feared they might not have the votes to pass the legislation because defense hawks wanted a ban on Pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations — something GOP leaders wouldn’t give them. They turned to Trump, who didn’t hesitate. In the flash of a tweet, he announced that transgender troops would be banned altogether. Trump’s sudden decision was, in part, a last-ditch attempt to save a House proposal full of his campaign promises that was on the verge of defeat, numerous congressional and White House sources said.” [Politico]

Right hand and far-right hand: “A House Republican aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly about internal matters, said that while GOP leaders were aware of a White House review of the issue of transgender service members, they were not given heads-up about the announcement and that it was ‘way beyond what we expected.’” [WaPo’s Mike DeBonis and Ed O’Keefe]

Just try to think of all that money we’ll be saving: “A June 2016 study from the RAND Corporation estimated that there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender active-duty service members — out of 1.3 million service members in total — and noted that not all of them would seek treatment related to gender transitioning. The study also estimated that the cost associated with medical care for gender transition would only increase military health care expenditures by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million each year — an increase of between 0.04 and 0.13 percent.” [Scientific American]

@Olivianuzzi: Sarah Huckabee Sanders threatens to end the briefing because reporters keep asking about POTUS’s policy on transgender servicemembers.

@justinsink: female reporter tries to ask Trump about transgender policy. “She’s very rude,” Trump tells assembled children

It’s getting almost possible to feel sorry for Jeff Sessions: “President Donald Trump for the third morning in a row began his day on by criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions.” [HuffPost’s Alana Horowitz Satlin]

TRUMP’S ETHICS GUY NOT A BIG FAN OF ETHICS - In a different life, the president could’ve been a terrific tobacco executive whose job was to find favorable scientific studies. Eric Lipton: ”David J. Apol, named by President Trump last week as the new head of the Office of Government Ethics, has repeatedly clashed with colleagues over his career at the agency as he sought to roll back or loosen ethics requirements on federal employees, including those in the White House, three former senior officials at the agency said. Mr. Apol’s former colleagues praised his intelligence and his experience as a federal government ethics lawyer at a half-dozen different agencies, including the White House, over three decades. But the tension has been building for at least a decade, during two stints Mr. Apol served at the Office of Government Ethics, his former colleagues said. Mr. Apol has argued that the agency is often too rigid in interpreting conflict-of-interest laws, they said.” [NYT]

Scalise out of the hospital. “Rep. Steve Scalise, who was wounded six weeks ago when a man opened fire at a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., was discharged this week from MedStar Washington Hospital Center. MedStar Washington said Wednesday that the House majority whip was discharged a day earlier and will begin ‘intensive inpatient rehabilitation.’” [WaPo’s Dana Hedgpeth]

REPUBLICANS STILL GUNNING FOR THOSE CORPORATE TAX CUTS - Tens of millions of people’s insurance may hang in the balance, but you best believe that Honest Wonk Paul Ryan has time to tell Capitol Hill Club types that their tax breaks are coming. Naomi Jagoda: ”The White House, congressional leaders and the chairmen of the tax-writing committees may release joint tax-reform principles as soon as this week, according to lobbyists. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told attendees at an event Tuesday at the Capitol Hill Club that the unified tax-reform framework would be unveiled later in the week, and that the House Ways and Means Committee would then write legislation based on the principles, according to Hadar Susskind, senior vice president of government relations at the Council on Foundations. A representative of Susskind’s group was at the event.” [The Hill]

Trey Radel discusses his infamous departure from Congress on this week’s Candidate Confessional: “And where I was different and an idiot compared to everybody else in Congress is I would then end up going out with friends that I had made off the Hill ― that had nothing to do with politics, where I didn’t have to be a politician or talk about dumb shit like tax reform or incentives, whatever...and then I started making really bad decisions.” [HuffPost]

COULDN’T YOU JUST SAY ‘THAT DOG WON’T HUNT’? MarketWatch: “Expressing befuddlement — and engendering it at the same time — over the Senate’s failure to pass, as yet, any of its several legislative efforts to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Buddy Carter, a Georgia Republican, offered a colorful and presumably aggressive strategy during an MSNBC interview Wednesday: ‘Somebody needs to go over there to that Senate and snatch a knot in their ass.’ … [T]he Urban Dictionary defined the phrase ‘snatch a knot’ thusly: ‘To hit someone, usually used in a threat of punishment or retribution. A knot is generally snatched in one’s ass, though variants include the neck and the head.’” [MarketWatch]

WTF? Dartunorro Clark: “An aide for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., has been arrested for attempting to flee the country and charged with bank fraud, officials said. Imran Awan, 37, was arrested on Monday by FBI agents and U.S. Capitol Police at Dulles International Airport trying to fly to Lahore, Pakistan. Awan was arraigned in U.S. District Court on Tuesday with one count of bank fraud, a federal offense, and he pleaded not guilty. Officials said Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, defrauded the Congressional Federal Credit Union for $165,000 by lying on a home equity loan application, according to federal court documents.” [NBC News]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a cat befriending a frog.

Yes yes yes yes yes yes: ”The outgoing press secretary spent the day in New York City in talks with major broadcasters about a new career in TV where he can share his insider knowledge of President Trump. Spicer, who announced his resignation Friday, was seen coming out of high-level meetings at ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News in Manhattan, according to sources…. But there’s also speculation 45-year-old Spicer’s next stop could be showing off some spicy dance moves on ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ … But a TV insider confirmed to Page Six that the dancing competition show has indeed reached out to the Beltway insider. ‘That has legs,’ the source said.” [Page Six’s Marisa Schultz and Ian Mohr]

COMFORT FOOD

-How Hans Zimmer is messing with our brains.

- Every “that’s what she said” joke from “The Office.”

TWITTERAMA

@evepeyser: super mega cosmic brain: trans folks should be THANKING trump from saying they’re no longer allowed to do war crimes

@ParkerMolloy: GOP 2010: “Who does Obama think he is? A king? Pen and phone? Executive orders?”

GOP 2017: “Lord Trump has decreed via tweet and so it is”

@FanSince09: A senator should just propose Obamacare, the entire original legislation, but just call it “Obozocare” and it’ll pass just to trigger libs

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