POLITICS
07/27/2017 04:58 pm ET

Senate Readies For Passively-Kill-A-Bunch-Of-People-A-Rama

Let the great experiment … begin!!!
Drew Angerer via Getty Images

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Hillary Clinton will release a campaign memoir called “What Happened,” though we were hoping for a policy prescription titled, “If I Did It.” Jeff Bezos surpassed Bill Gates as the world’s richest person with a net worth of $90.7 billion, which we’re pretty sure is more than enough to gender-reassign the entire U.S. military. And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the president hasn’t officially ordered a change to the military’s transgender policy, suggesting that our commander-in-chief goes about policy changes the way Michael Scott declares bankruptcy. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, July 27th, 2017:

A BETTER WAY - Absolute chaos reigned on Capitol Hill Thursday as Senate Republicans are trying everything they can to accomplish next to nothing on health care, apart from maybe exploding the health insurance market. GOP Senators emerged from their policy luncheon still lacking an actual health care bill. But don’t worry ― we’re confident at least 49 of them will vote for it regardless, even if all it turns out to be is a crayon drawing of Barack Obama saying, “Boo I has a sad now.” The vote-a-rama on amendments and Mitch McConnell’s still-nonexistent legislation is set to begin Thursday evening, meaning this thing could pass in the middle of the night, because of course. Follow HuffPost’s liveblog to keep informed on the madness. [HuffPost]

Senate Republicans tried to trip up the minority up by offering a vote on single-payer ― it didn’t work.

GOP WORKING ON REPEAL ALTERNATIVES - Ah do declare, Jeff Sessions is going to be positively aflutter over that opioid treatment amendment. Jonathan Cohn: “The idea, by all accounts, is to strip away the more divisive elements of repeal ― the cuts to Medicaid and private insurance tax credits, the weakening of regulations that protection people with pre-existing conditions, and the elimination of new taxes on the wealthy. Instead, this ‘skinny’ bill would simply repeal the individual mandate, which penalizes people who don’t obtain insurance, while also eliminating a tax on the medical device industry and a requirement that employers provide coverage to employees. Leaders could add other elements, too. One option under discussion, according to Vox, is $45 billion in extra money to fight opioids, in order to shore up support from Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). But adding money could be difficult because an unofficial projection of the bill’s costs, from the Congressional Budget Office, suggested it would violate the rules of the budget reconciliation process, which is what would allow Republicans to pass the measure with just 50 votes rather than the usual 60. (They have only 52 seats.)” [HuffPost]

LOL, remember Bill Cassidy’s commitment to the “Kimmel test”?

INSURANCE INDUSTRY WARNS SKINNY BILL COULD CAUSE ACTUAL COLLAPSE - For all the “Eff it, I’ll vote for Trump” nihilism attributed to Trump voters, few groups exhibit more policy and political pyromania than congressional Republicans. Jonathan Cohn: ”The health insurance industry’s most influential trade group sent Congress a blistering letter Thursday warning that the so-called ‘skinny’ health care bill Senate Republicans are putting together could wreak havoc on insurance markets ― and do so almost immediately. The main idea of this new GOP proposal, which is not yet public and indeed may not even exist as anything more than a set of concepts under discussion, is to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate ― the financial penalty for people who decline to get health insurance. GOP leaders have said that by focusing on the mandate and avoiding other divisive issues, such as cuts to Medicaid, they can pull together the 50 votes they would need to pass a bill ― something they are desperate to do, having spent seven years promising to repeal ‘Obamacare.’” [HuffPost]

Eric Cantor never thought repeal would actually happen: “He says he wasn’t the only one aware of the charade: ‘We sort of all got what was going on, that there was this disconnect in terms of communication, because no one wanted to take the time out in the general public to even think about “Wait a minute — that can’t happen.” ’ But, he adds, ‘if you’ve got that anger working for you, you’re gonna let it be.’” [Washingtonian’s Elaina Plott]

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RICH PEOPLE REJOICE - Alan Rappeport: “The Republican tax negotiators in Congress and the Trump administration announced on Thursday that they had reached an agreement on the core principles of how they will press forward with an overhaul of the tax code. They also pledged to redouble their efforts to pass tax legislation before the end of the year.” [NYT]

They still need to pass a budget in order to do tax reform so, uh, we’ll see.

THIS DOESN’T SEEM LIKE IT’S AN OK THING TO DO - Erica Martinson: “Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with [Lisa Murkowski’s health care debate vote]. By that afternoon, each of Alaska’s two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy... Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said the call from Zinke heralded a ‘troubling message.’ ‘I’m not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop,’ Sullivan said...Sullivan said the Interior secretary was clear that his message was in response to the no vote Murkowski cast Tuesday on the motion to proceed with debate on the House-passed health care legislation.” [Alaska Dispatch News]

MOST LGBT-FRIENDLY ADMINISTRATION EVER CONTINUES STELLAR PERFORMANCE - Further evidence of Ivanka and Jared’s incredible moderating influence. Alan Feuer: ”The Department of Justice has filed court papers arguing that a major federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, taking a stand against a decision reached under former President Barack Obama. The department’s move to insert itself into the New York case was an uncommon example of top officials in Washington opining directly in the courts on what is an important but essentially private dispute between a worker and his boss over gay rights issues. Civil rights advocates immediately criticized the filing not only for the arguments it advanced, but also for having been made on the same day that President Trump announced on Twitter that transgender people would be banned from serving in the military.” [NYT]

JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: PRESIDENT ACTUALLY HAS TO ACT ON TRANSGENDER POLICY - Do you think that sometimes Donald Trump sticks a lightsaber in the snow, hangs himself upside down and tries to will it into his hand, truly believing it’s something he’s capable of? Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali: “General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a written message on Thursday to military leaders that there has been no change yet to the military’s policy on transgender personnel, despite plans for a ban announced by President Donald Trump. ′There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,′ Dunford said in the written message to service chiefs, commanders and senior enlisted leaders, seen by Reuters. ‘In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.’” [Reuters]

FUN WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT - Mooch would’ve fit right in at Uber. Alana Horowitz Satlin: “White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Thursday suggested that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is sharing confidential information to the press. In the middle of CNN’s ‘New Day’ segment in which he also compared his relationship with Priebus to Cain and Abel, Scaramucci said that he and President Donald Trump have a ‘very good idea’ of who the leakers are and that ‘if Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that.’ Since joining the White House, Scaramucci has vowed to crack down on leakers, one of Trump’s most frequently mentioned pet peeves. On Wednesday night, Scaramucci tweeted that he was asking the FBI to investigate leaks of his financial history, tagging Priebus’ Twitter handle. But he denied a report from The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza that he had been asking the agency to probe Priebus specifically.” [HuffPost]

MORE LIKE SWAMPUCCI, AMIRITE - Don’t worry, the Mooch is focused like a laser on getting those jobs back to Toledo. Lorraine Woellert: “Anthony Scaramucci finally has his White House job, but he still stands to profit from an ownership stake in his investment firm SkyBridge Capital. The incoming White House communications director earned $4.9 million from his ownership stake in SkyBridge in addition to more than $5 million in salary between Jan. 1, 2016, and the end of June, when he joined the Export-Import Bank, according to a financial disclosure filed with the Office of Government Ethics…. The investment firm, which Scaramucci founded in 2005, is in the process of being sold to RON Transatlantic and Chinese conglomerate HNA Group. The sale, set in motion in January when Scaramucci was shedding his holdings in anticipation of landing an administration job, has drawn the scrutiny of regulators and is taking longer than expected to close.” [Politico]

GQ is reporting that Sean Hannity ― who denies it ― spent $42K at Trump’s D.C. hotel.

BANNON’S HAS IS OWN PR GUY, IS PROBABLY BREAKING THE LAW - Hey, they got Capone on tax charges, y’know? Christina Wilkie: “Alexandra Preate, a 46-year-old New Yorker and veteran Republican media strategist, describes herself as Bannon’s ‘personal spokesperson.’ But she also collaborates with other White House officials on public messaging and responses to press inquiries. It was Preate who responded when the Center for Public Integrity recently asked the White House Press Office questions about Bannon. Preate, however, is not employed by President Donald Trump’s administration or paid by the federal government. The unorthodox setup means Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, is potentially violating the Antideficiency Act, which provides that federal employees ‘may not accept voluntary services for [the] government or employ personal services exceeding that authorized by law.’” [CPI]

FAMOUS PERSON GETS BOOK DEAL - Oh man, the Washington read on this one’s index is going to be fun. Hillel Italie: ”Hillary Clinton is calling her new book ‘What Happened’ and promising unprecedented candor as she remembers her stunning defeat last year to Donald Trump. ‘In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net,’ Clinton writes in the introduction, according to publisher Simon & Schuster. ‘Now I’m letting my guard down.’ Simon & Schuster told The Associated Press on Thursday that Clinton’s book will be a highly personal work that also is a ‘cautionary tale’ about Russian interference in last year’s election and its threat to democracy. In public remarks since last fall, the Democrat has cited Russia as a factor in her defeat to her Republican opponent, along with a letter sent by then-FBI Director James Comey less than two weeks before the election.” [AP]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here are dogs convinced that water is a menace to mankind.

BOY SCOUT CHIEF GOES FOR PUBLIC CONTRITION BADGE - Julia Manchester: “The head of Boy Scouts of America has apologized following President Trump’s controversial speech earlier this week at the organization’s National Jamboree, saying he regrets politics were brought into the event. ‘I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,’ Michael Surbaugh, chief scout executive for the Boy Scouts of America, said in a statement on Thursday. ‘That was never our intent. The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition.... It is in no way an endorsement of any person, party or policies.’” [The Hill]

COMFORT FOOD

- Modern tech’s worst predictions.

- The world’s worst marathon.

TWITTERAMA

@timothypmurphy: The good news about this “bad Roman emperor” thing is the next Supreme Court vacancy will just be filled by Trump’s horse

@TPCarney: Mooch decrying the “leak” of a public document reminds me of the lobbyists accusing me of stalking for finding their number on an LDA form.

@Mobute: if we’re gonna put unrealistic expectations on ivanka for having a conscience, we might as well shoot the moon & demand she convert to islam


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