Trump’s budget: major slashes to social programs but $1.6bn for the wall

Millions of people stand to lose Medicaid access, alongside cuts to welfare and food stamps, under a proposed budget that still has numerous hurdles to jump

Donald Trump will embrace hardline right-wing economics on Tuesday with a budget that proposes swingeing cuts to social safety net programmes while allocating $1.6bn to a border wall.

Millions of people would lose access to Medicaid, the government insurance programme for the poorest and many disabled Americans. Food stamps for people on low incomes would be cut over the next 10 years under the White House plan and the families of undocumented workers would be frozen out of key tax breaks.

We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programmes or the number of people on those programmes, budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters. Were going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off of those programmes to get back in charge of their own lives. Were not going to measure our success by how much money we spend but by how many people we actually help.

The Trump blueprint is unlikely to become law because it will face opposition from both moderate Republicans and Democrats worried about its social impact and from fiscal conservatives who fear it will increase the deficit.

Chuck Schumer, Democratic minority leader in the Senate, condemned the proposed cuts to Medicaid. This would pull the rug out from so many Americans who need help: those suffering from opioid and heroin addiction, people in nursing homes and their families who care for them, the elderly, the disabled, and children, he said on the Senate floor.
Medicaid helps not only the poor but increasingly the middle class, as well as 1.75m veterans, Schumer added. Heres what candidate Trump said when he campaigned: Im not going to cut social security like every other Republican and Im not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid. He promised he would help take care of those suffering from opioid addiction. If it cuts Medicaid, hes breaking that promise right in half.

Economic experts were also quick to dismiss Mulvaneys claims that Trumps tax plans and budget would boost economic growth to 3%, balancing the federal budget within a decade.

Although Trump is an unconventional president, the budget shares much with the conservative orthodoxy of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. It is entitled A New Foundation for American Greatness and Mulvaney said if he had a subtitle it would be, The taxpayer first budget.

Budget director Mick Mulvaney. We need everybody to pull in the same direction. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Cuts to Medicaid over the next decade exceed even the more than the $800bn reductions contained in a health bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month.

The president also aims to slash welfare by $274bn over a decade, including $193bn on food stamps, driving millions of people off the programme. This would be several times bigger than cuts attempted by House Republicans in the past. The number of people claiming food stamps spiked to 47m people at the height of the 2007-08 recession and had not come down as expected, still totalling 44m people, Mulvaney said, despite near full employment in the US.

Some $72bn over 10 years would come from social securitys disability insurance programme, including $50bn in savings which would be achieved by helping recipients get off the programme and find a job.

Mulvaney continued: If youre on food stamps and youre able bodied, we need you to go to work. If youre on disability insurance and youre not supposed to be, if youre not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work.

He added: Theres a dignity to work and theres a necessity to work to help the country and succeed and we need everybody to pull in the same direction.

The Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Credit would be limited to those who are authorised to work in the US. They would be required to show proof of a social security number a move that would have a negative impact on children who are US citizens but whose parents are undocumented.

I could ask you for your money I think, in good faith and good conscience, and say, Look, I need to take some of your money and give it to this family, who deserves the Child Tax Credit, but I cant do it to give the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is designed to help folks who work, to give it somebody whos in the country and working illegally. Its just not fair. Its not right when you look at it through the perspective of the people paying the taxes.

Trump would also reduce federal employee pensions and farm subsidies while keeping campaign pledges to leave core Medicare and social security benefits for the elderly untouched.

He also promised a groundbreaking proposal to provide six weeks of paid family leave to new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, championed by Trumps daughter, Ivanka, and costing $25bn over 10 years.

Mulvaney confirmed that the budget plan defunds Planned Parenthood, on the premise that the American Health Care Act will become law, and winds down the support for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which feeds the money to outlets such as the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio.

The blueprint also shaves 31.4% off funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and 29.1% off that for the state department and other international programmes.

The cuts to domestic spending would be redirected to the US military, law enforcement and supporting veterans. It allocates $2.6bn to border security, including $1.6bn for the bricks and mortar construction of a wall on the Mexican border, with the remaining $1m allotted to technology and infrastructure.

But the plan a wish list to fund the Trump agenda faces numerous hurdles. The healthcare bill is likely to undergo significant changes in the Senate while a rewrite of the tax code only has a broad outline so far. It also makes assumptions about growth.

People protest the Trump administrations bid to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Photograph: David Mcnew/AFP/Getty Images

Mulvaney said Trumps package of spending cuts and tax breaks would boost the USs economys growth rate to 3% over the next decade, a considerable increase from the 1.9% forecast under current policy by the Congressional Budget Office.

The director, due to testify to the House and Senate this week, said: I think what Trumponomics is and what this budget is a part of is an effort to get to sustained 3% economic growth in this country again. I think its sad that the previous administration was willing to admit that we couldnt get better than 1.9% growth over the next 10 years … That assumes a pessimism about America, about the economy, about its people, about its culture that were simply refusing to accept. We believe that we can get to 3% growth.

But economists were skeptical of the claim. Gus Faucher, PNC Financial Services chief economist said US productivity growth had averaged 1.75% over the last 45 years and that the period between the late 1990s and early 2000s when growth topped 3% was the exception. Its asking a lot to expect the exception not the rule, said Faucher.

Marc Goldwein, head of policy at non-partisan thinktank Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the budgets numbers did not add up. He said Mulvaneys promise of returning to the 3% growth rates were unrealistic at best.

We are not bringing the 90s back, he said. Three percent was normal then because the baby boomers were in their prime and we had a tech boom. Now baby boomers are aging out of the workforce and the tech booms impact has fizzled, Trumps budget would likely add decimal points not percentage points to US growth, he said.

This is like pretending you have won the lottery when all you have is a handful of scratch cards, he said.

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Trump’s doublespeak in Saudi Arabia

(CNN)If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Donald Trump, it is that he has no qualms about contradicting himself to get what he wants. In Saudi Arabia, he wanted a $110 billion arms deal — not to promote peace and tolerance, as he later proclaimed in his Sunday speech.

Thus, his speech will not “be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East,” as he loftily put it, but rather a boost to the war that is ravaging it. Nor will Trump’s speech put an end to the Islamophobia and bigotry that he has spent the past two years inciting. After all, he needs scapegoats to blame when the terrorism in the Middle East inevitably reaches the United States.
Given Trump’s opportunistic leadership style — what he calls “principled realism”– we can expect more contradictions between his rhetoric and his actions. Four specific contradictions warrant exploring to predict what is in store for American foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as for the treatment of Muslims in the United States.
    First, Trump preaches peace and prosperity in his speech, but then sells weapons to the Saudis, which will inevitably fuel war. Trump treats terrorism in the Middle East as a business opportunity to create jobs at home and enrich defense industry tycoons.
    While addressing the world’s longest-ruling dictators about terrorism, Trump failed to mention how state violence and repression feeds ISIS and al Qaeda’s propaganda campaigns. Instead, he proclaims the Arab leaders to be defenders of the people’s freedom. As he advised his allies to allow “young Muslim boys and girls (to) be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence and innocent of hatred,” he disingenuously pretended that the Arab Spring never occurred. The people revolted against their authoritarian governments seeking just those things, but found themselves abandoned by the United States and violently repressed by Arab regimes — which he is once again arming.

      Trump to Muslim world: Drive out terrorists

    Thus, we should not expect any meaningful attempts by the Trump administration to decrease terrorism in the region. Rather, the focus of US counterterrorism strategy will be to geographically contain the violence within the Middle East and prevent it from crossing the Atlantic.
    This brings us to the second of Trump’s contradictions — deliberately disconnecting Islam from terrorism in his speech to his Saudi arms purchasers while bolstering Islamophobia in the United States. Over the past two years, Trump has repeatedly stated that “Islam hates us” and Islam is a “hateful foreign ideology,” a kind of rhetoric that has emboldened his white nationalist supporters to discriminate against and attack Muslims. The growing anti-Muslim bigotry could give his administration free rein to disproportionately target Muslims in counterterrorism investigations, surveillance and prosecutions.
    Third, there is little evidence Trump is willing to participate in the global effort to “counter extremist ideology,” a new term he strategically coined instead of “radical Islamic terrorism” that he’s been peddling to his right-wing base. As Trump announced a “groundbreaking new center (that) represent(ed) a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combatting radicalization,” he took no responsibility for his own divisive rhetoric that radicalizes the political right in the United States. Indeed, over the past five years, extremist ideology from the right has risen at troubling levels.
    Accordingly, we should expect the continued use of “radical Islamic terrorism” in his speeches to American audiences and willful blindness to the rise in violence of the alt-right, right-wing militia groups, and the Ku Klux Klan.
    Finally, Trump stated that in “the scenes of destruction, in the wake of terror, we see no signs that those murdered were Jewish or Christian, Shia or Sunni.” Here he intimates sympathy for Muslims, even as his domestic policies single out and discriminate against Muslims. His first executive order barred millions of people from Muslim-majority countries from lawfully entering the United States. The refugee clause in the order applied only to Muslim Syrian refugees while exempting Christian Syrian refugees — as if the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Muslim Syrians killed were of no value. And in all of his speeches warning about terrorism committed by Muslims, he has never acknowledged the rise in hate crimes, mosque vandalizations and bullying suffered by Muslims in the United States. For Trump, there is a major difference between Muslims and everyone else.

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    While citizens in the Middle East and America may find his contradictions repugnant, his audience in Saudi Arabia will not. On the contrary, Middle East authoritarians see Trump as a fellow demagogue who will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. And what he wants has little to do with peace, stability and prosperity for the people of the Middle East.

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    The bizarre naming trends that modern startups follow

    Startups put great effort into finding the perfect name. Ideally, it should be short, memorable, descriptive, and easy to pronounce.

    Names that meet all the criteria are commonly taken, however, so most founders find a compromise. They settle on a creative misspelling, add a word or just string together sounds they like. In the end, the hope is that a well-named startup will have an easier time attracting customers and capital.

    Observing companies founded and funded in the past couple years, its apparent that startups are often thinking along the same lines when it comes to choosing a name. Theyre making reference to hot technologies like AI, opting for two- or three-word names, or simply making up words.

    Were surprised at how many names we can make up that sound like they should be in the dictionary, even if theyre not, says Athol Foden, founder of Brighter Naming, a corporate naming consultancy. Hes also impressed by how many really good names come out of creative combinations of common nouns and verbs.

    We crunched through names of more than 1,000 startups founded in the past two years to look for trends. We narrowed the query to startups that have raised $200,000 or more in an effort to focus on names of companies that secured investment.

    Here is a rundown on some of the recent trends.


    Venture capitalists love artificial intelligence companies lately, and AI is a concise, universally recognized abbreviation. So its not surprising to see funded startups cropping up with AI in their names. We counted at least 23 funded companies founded in the past two years that have AI in their names.

    By far the biggest funding recipient with an AI name is Argo AI, a startup in the ultra-hot autonomous vehicle space that secured a $1 billion investment from Ford in February. Other sizeable rounds went to Aidoc, a provider of AI-powered medical imaging tools for radiologists, and Rulai, which incorporates AI into customer experience software.


    You might think it would be natural for a robotics company to call itself one. Looking at companies in the space that raised funding recently, thats clearly the trend. Crunchbase records show at least ten companies founded and funded in the past two years with robotics or robot in their names.

    But in previous investment cycles, when the industry was less in vogue with venture capitalists, many companies chose names that didnt reveal their robotics focus. One of the most prominent was Kiva Systems, a developer of robot technology for warehouses that Amazon bought for $775 million five years ago. Others include Harvest Automation and Blue River Technology. Of course, there are also some older companies, such as Roomba-maker iRobot, that chose names reflecting their robotics roots.

    First names

    Giving companies a human first name isnt a new thing in startup circles. Perhaps the best-known startup in this category is Oscar, a four-year-old health insurance company that has raised over $700 million., an online learning provider that sold to LinkedIn two years ago for $1.5 billion, also follows the first name trend. Perhaps Oscar, Lynda, and, more recently, Viv, served as an inspiration to others.

    In the past two years, weve seen Albert, Lucy, Ollie, Penny, Pearl, Riley, and Yoshi crop up, among others. Extra points go to Aiden, an AI-powered tool for marketers, for scoring a brand that includes both an AI reference and a popular first name.

    Food names for tech companies

    Apple did pretty well with this strategy. Now others are hoping itll work for them. Were seeing a number of tech startups turning to the grocery shelves for naming ideas in the past couple years. From the dairy aisle, we have, a digital personal assistant, and Cheddar, an online financial news network that closed a $19 million round this week. Representing the produce section, theres Plum, an online saving tool. And from the bakery, we have Bagel Labs, developer of a smart tape measure, and Donut Media, a startup targeting auto enthusiasts.


    Is your dream startup name taken? No worries. Just delete the i and replace it with a y, change that c to a k, or try a different vowel. Those are some popular techniques in creative misspelling that startups are using to secure names that sound like common words. Names featuring a y in place of I include Mylestone and Shyft Technologies. For the c and k switcheroo, theres Kustomer and Kard. For other catchy typo names, see our list here.

    In konclusion

    As Foden told Crunchbase News, founders creativity has allowed for a much wider array of catchy startup names than even naming professionals would have thought possible. Hed predicted a few years ago that startups would turn to obscure foreign languages for names; instead. they are still mostly using their native tongues.

    Startups have also managed to stretch out the name supply by going with two words, Usually, the first name is the brand and the second indicates sector.

    But according to Foden, the two-word naming trend is likely temporary for founders with big ambitions. Once a company passes the $100 billion valuation mark, its common to drop the second word. No one calls Cisco Systems anything but Cisco anymore. And as for Apple, most young people probably dont even remember that it used to be Apple Computer.

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    Peter Dutton’s office tells Canadian-Australian: ‘go back to US and deal with Trump’

    Doug Stetner, who has represented Australia in underwater rugby, called Duttons office to voice support for asylum seekers

    A Canadian-born Australian citizen who called Peter Duttons Brisbane office to voice opposition to treatment of asylum seekers says an electorate officer told him to go back to the United States then and deal with Trump.

    Doug Stetner, an Australian citizen for 21 years, who represented the national mens team at the 2015 underwater rugby world cup in Colombia, said the response from the immigration ministers staffer was both offensive and comical.

    Basically, go back to where you come from. I felt like I was talking to Pauline Hansons party. It was very disappointing, Stetner said.

    The Brisbane resident, who has been eligible to vote in the last eight federal elections, said he decided to contact his local MP Ross Vasta after reading of revelations of the strategic worsening of conditions for Nauru and Manus Island detainees.

    But Vastas office did not pick up, so Stetner decided to contact the immigration ministers electorate office in Strathpine. He said a male staffer fielded the call.

    Stetner, 55, a university computer systems administrator, said he was polite but firm. Basically I said I disagreed with the way they were handling things over there [on Nauru and Manus Island] and they should bring all of these people back to Australia until they can determine whats going to go on with them.

    Douglas Stetner (front, left) and his colleagues in the Australian underwater rugby team. Photograph: Douglas Stetner

    He said the staffer told him he did not know what it was like in the detention centres as reporters are not telling you whats real.

    I said, If you let the reporters in there, we might get whats real, but theyre blocking the media so you just get to a point where you dont trust the government on anything theyre saying, Stetner said.

    Stetner told the electorate officer it made him embarrassed or ashamed to be an Australian to see this going on in Australian-run detention centres. And then he came out with, Well, why dont you just go back to the US then and deal with Trump?

    I was a bit surprised by that. I said I was an Australian citizen and Canadian, not American. Anyway, they represent us and all I can do is call them and tell them this is what Im thinking.

    Guardian Australia twice contacted Duttons electorate office to seek the staffers account of the conversation. Two male staffers who answered calls denied having a conversation with Stetner.

    Neither the office, nor Duttons ministerial media spokesman, also contacted by Guardian Australia, provided a response.

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    Popular social media sites ‘harm young people’s mental health’

    Poll of 14- to 24-year-olds shows Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter increased feelings of inadequacy and anxiety

    Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young peoples mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

    Instagram has the most negative impact on young peoples mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young peoples feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

    The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

    The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate childrens and young peoples body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

    The findings follow growing concern among politicians, health bodies, doctors, charities and parents about young people suffering harm as a result of sexting, cyberbullying and social media reinforcing feelings of self-loathing and even the risk of them committing suicide.

    Its interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing. Both platforms are very image-focused and it appears that they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people, said Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, which undertook the survey with the Young Health Movement.

    She demanded tough measures to make social media less of a wild west when it comes to young peoples mental health and wellbeing. Social media firms should bring in a pop-up image to warn young people that they have been using it a lot, while Instagram and similar platforms should alert users when photographs of people have been digitally manipulated, Cramer said.

    The 1,479 young people surveyed were asked to rate the impact of the five forms of social media on 14 different criteria of health and wellbeing, including their effect on sleep, anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-identity, bullying, body image and the fear of missing out.

    Instagram emerged with the most negative score. It rated badly for seven of the 14 measures, particularly its impact on sleep, body image and fear of missing out and also for bullying and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. However, young people cited its upsides too, including self-expression, self-identity and emotional support.

    YouTube scored very badly for its impact on sleep but positively in nine of the 14 categories, notably awareness and understanding of other peoples health experience, self-expression, loneliness, depression and emotional support.

    However, the leader of the UKs psychiatrists said the findings were too simplistic and unfairly blamed social media for the complex reasons why the mental health of so many young people is suffering.

    Prof Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: I am sure that social media plays a role in unhappiness, but it has as many benefits as it does negatives.. We need to teach children how to cope with all aspects of social media good and bad to prepare them for an increasingly digitised world. There is real danger in blaming the medium for the message.

    Young Minds, the charity which Theresa May visited last week on a campaign stop, backed the call for Instagram and other platforms to take further steps to protect young users.

    Tom Madders, its director of campaigns and communications, said: Prompting young people about heavy usage and signposting to support they may need, on a platform that they identify with, could help many young people.

    However, he also urged caution in how content accessed by young people on social media is perceived. Its also important to recognise that simply protecting young people from particular content types can never be the whole solution. We need to support young people so they understand the risks of how they behave online, and are empowered to make sense of and know how to respond to harmful content that slips through filters.

    Parents and mental health experts fear that platforms such as Instagram can make young users feel worried and inadequate by facilitating hostile comments about their appearance or reminding them that they have not been invited to, for example, a party many of their peers are attending.

    May, who has made childrens mental health one of her priorities, highlighted social medias damaging effects in her shared society speech in January, saying: We know that the use of social media brings additional concerns and challenges. In 2014, just over one in 10 young people said that they had experienced cyberbullying by phone or over the internet.

    In February, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, warned social media and technology firms that they could face sanctions, including through legislation, unless they did more to tackle sexting, cyberbullying and the trolling of young users.

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    Girlguiding overhauls badges to help girls ‘thrive’ – BBC News

    Image copyright Girlguiding
    Image caption The new badges will help girls thrive in the modern world, says Girlrguiding

    Girlguiding is planning a huge overhaul of its programme, with classic badges replaced by new ones with titles liable to puzzle older generations.

    So far, 15,000 girls have put forward ideas for new badges, including App Design, Vlogging and Upcycling.

    Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, one of several “inspirational women” involved, suggested a Resilience badge.

    And Lil, aged nine, wanted a Gymnastics badge as: “I enjoy doing it and I can do lots of tricks.”

    Image copyright Girlguiding
    Image caption Air Mechanic badge was one of the earliest available

    Girlguiding might be more famous for less adventurous badges like Homemaker and Hostess but they also have a long tradition of groundbreaking badges, including:

    • Air Mechanic, in the 1910s
    • Architect and Electrical Engineer, both in the 1920s
    • Electrician, in the 1930s

    More recently, in the 1980s, there was a Radio Communicator badge, and the 1990s girls could do a Canoeist badge.

    The current set of badges include Survival, Circus Skills and World Issues.

    Parents and the general public are now being invited to contribute ideas for the new programme on social media, using the hashtag #BadgeGoals.

    Girlguiding has more than 500,000 members aged five to 25 and 100,000 volunteers.

    It runs Rainbows for five to seven-year-olds, Brownies for seven to 10-year-olds, Guides for 10 to 14-year-olds and Senior Section for 14 to 25-year-olds.

    As well as Vlogging, App Design and Upcycling, potential badges suggested by members include:

    • Entrepreneurship
    • DIY
    • Animation
    • Festival Goer
    • Voting
    • Grow Your Own
    • Space
    • Costume Design
    • Speaking Out
    • Archaeology

    Elena, 17, said: “A Chemist badge would be brilliant as girls could find out about acids and alkalis and have a go at conducting experiments.

    “It would be a fantastic way to engage girls in chemistry.”

    Mihika, eight, said her top choice would be a Zip Line Badge, “because it is very fun and cool”.

    Image copyright Girlguiding
    Image caption Gymnast Beth Tweddle and Cece, a Brownie, have different goals in terms of new badges

    Sophie, 20, wanted a Video Journalist badge: “It would give girls the opportunity to learn about making vlogs and other video news pieces and understand how to harness one of the most powerful communication mediums available.”

    Beth Tweddle said her proposed Resilience badge would “give girls the chance to build their mental wellbeing”.

    She said resilience was a “valuable skill” which had helped her handle “the pressures of competing in gymnastics”.

    “A Resilience badge would help to tackle the stigma around mental health from a young age by empowering girls to talk confidently about these issues and equipping them with the skills they need to be resilient throughout their lives.”

    Girlguiding says the new programme, starting next year, will mark “the biggest investment in girls’ futures outside the school system in the UK”.

    The aim is to equip hundreds of thousands of girls “with all the skill and experiences they will need to thrive, succeed, make change and be happy in the modern world”, it adds.

    Beth Tweddle is among several prominent women awarded honorary “I Give Girls a Voice” Guide badges for being role models for girls and young women.

    Other recipients include fellow Olympians Lizzy Yarnold, Dame Kelly Holmes and Hannah Cockroft, as well as entertainer Kimberly Wyatt, campaigning journalist Bryony Gordon and adventurer Anna McNuff.

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    The 2020 Democratic race is underway. Here are 5 takeaways

    Washington (CNN)Democrats got their first side-by-side view of the biggest names vying to lead the party — and potentially its ticket against President Donald Trump in 2020.

    More than a dozen senators, governors and House members got their first chance to flash their personalities, policy platforms and cases against Trump in front of a largely establishment audience at an “Ideas Conference” hosted by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
    Here are five takeaways from the first potential candidate showcase of the 2020 election cycle:

      The problem with focusing on Trump

      Democrats sense that they’re in the middle of a drop-everything moment, where nothing matters more to their voters than fighting Trump with everything they’ve got.
      But those who want to lead the party in 2020 and beyond know they need to offer an optimistic and policy-focused message of their own, too.
      The problem is, the transition from issuing dire warnings about the immediate emergency to selling a vision for a post-Trump America isn’t a smooth one.
      The messaging challenge facing Democrats was on display Tuesday. Most speakers simply attacked Trump at the outset of their remarks, and then — with no real transition — moved on to the policy topic they’d been assigned for the day.
      Two senators seen as 2020 presidential prospects did try, though, to offer a cohesive vision.
      New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker cast Trump as another of the “demagogues” — Joseph McCarthy and Father Charles Coughlin were others he cited — that have been obstacles to overcome in the arc of history.
      “I want to fight in this climate. I want to dedicate myself,” Booker said. “But we cannot just be a party of resistance — we’ve got to be a party that’s reaffirming the American dream.”
      Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren made a much more Trump-focused case.
      She cast Trump’s sharing of highly sensitive intelligence with Russian officials and his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey as symptoms of a political elite run amok.
      “Concentrated money and concentrated power are corrupting our democracy and becoming dangerously worse with Donald Trump in the White House,” she said.
      The ideas on display here were broadly familiar. Many of the key talking points echoed the core principles that guided Hillary Clinton’s campaign. They spoke soberly about technocratic solutions to all manner of economic displacement. Trump was dismissed as a craven bully.
      “We can’t allow Twitter wars to become shooting wars,” former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice said to applause. Close your eyes, change a sentence here and there, and it could have been the late summer of 2016.
      The touchier policy questions roiling the left in the Trump era were mostly glossed over. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper spoke with conviction, but the particulars — “Investment in education has got to be all the way from birth through higher education” — were gauzy and familiar. The repeated nods, over and again, to coal miners felt like clumsy lip service. (The whiplash came when Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley suggested, to cheers, that the US “put every coal electricity generating plant into a museum by the year 2050.”)

      The 2020 anti-Trump messaging test drive

      It’s 42 months from Election Day 2020 — but Democrats seen as presidential prospects used the first “cattle call” of the new cycle to take their best shots at Trump.
      Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand focused on Monday night’s report that Trump had shared classified information with Russian officials in the Oval Office last week. “Last night’s reporting has taken us to a whole new level of abnormal. The President is truly creating chaos,” she said.
      For Warren, it was all economic inequality, all the time.
      “The swamp is bigger, deeper, uglier and filled with more corrupt creatures than ever before in history,” Warren said.
      “The CEO of Exxon-Mobil is now the secretary of state. Goldman Sachs now has enough people in the White House to open a branch office,” she said. “Do you get the feeling that if Bernie Madoff weren’t in prison, that he’d be in charge of the SEC right now?”
      Sen. Kamala Harris, a California freshman who many Democrats see as a rising star, harshly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ push for harsher sentences for drug-related crimes — and accused Trump and Sessions of “reviving the failed war on drugs.”
      Another Harris swipe at Trump carried racial, geographic and urban vs. rural implications. “We need this administration to understand that if they care about the opioid crisis in rural America as they say they do, they have also got to care about the drug-addicted young man in Chicago or East LA,” she said.

      The names you didn’t hear

      Specifically: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
      Tuesday’s event was an opportunity for new Democratic leaders to take the stage without a former president or presidential candidate seizing the limelight. But it was impossible to ignore the shadow those figures still cast over their party.
      Clinton’s name rarely came up — but occasionally, Democrats did take implicit shots at her 2016 campaign.
      Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar pointed out that Clinton’s campaign did not pay attention to rural towns.
      “Winning candidates do that,” she said.
      Montana Gov. Steve Bullock — a two-time statewide winner in a place Trump cruised — faulted the party for what he called an over-reliance on analytics and its focus on turning out the base.
      Democrats should worry more, he said, “about really offering voters a reason to vote for a Democrat for president.”
      “From my perspective, Democrats need to do a better job of showing up, making an argument — even in places where people are likely to disagree,” he said.

      Not all the cattle showed up for this ‘call’

      If this was Democrats’ first semi-formal gathering of potential 2020 nominees, it was an incomplete one.
      To the extent Tuesday’s speakers were competing, it was to define their particular styles and cadences. The room was full of friends. When Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime party fundraiser and Clinton super supporter, delivered his spirited argument about the importance of redistricting reform, his exaggerated drawl drew only warm smiles.
      Warren, who probably tracks as far left as anyone of the keynote speakers, delivered the most round and polished remarks. Her decision to so vocally support Clinton in 2016 seems to have won her the trust of the party’s liberal professional class.
      But even as the politicians preached inclusion, it was, perhaps oddly, the panel titled, “The Resistance,” that spoke in the harshest terms about the absent “cattle.”
      Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas dismissed “that grassroots Bernie (Sanders) thing” as a corrosive element that would forestall Democratic victories, even suggesting the Berniecrat call to win over working class whites was a cover — “code,” he called it — for uglier ambitions.
      “There’s a changing of the guard in progressive leadership to one where women and marginalized communities are centered. It doesn’t mean they’re part of the party anymore, they’re leading it. And there is some resistance among some corners of that, and you see it in things like people saying, ‘Well we need to reach out to working class people,'” Moulitsos said. “Because, you know, none of us know any working class people in our communities.”
      Sanders was not present because CAP, as a spokeswoman explained, did not offer invitations to anyone who had previously run for president.
      Still, the absence of anyone — Warren aside — who might feasibly win his and his supporters’ enthusiastic support gave the event a narrower feeling.

      Few new ideas on health care

      Democrats here were prepared to fight and die in defense of Obamacare. Activists and organizers onstage and off pointed to the Republican bill as the party’s ticket back to a House majority.
      The language was stark. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the Republican bill “deadly” and “the most damaging bill for women in legislative history.”
      Of all the issues coming down the pike, health care is “the huge one,” Indivisible Project co-founder Leah Greenberg told CNN before her panel discussion.
      And still, the elephant in the room went unaddressed. Through a full day of speeches, group discussions, and one-on-one chats, the question of what, specifically, Democrats would pursue and sell voters — beyond preserving and beefing up the ACA — went unanswered.
      Single-payer health care, or “Medicare-for-all,” a demand of the progressive left movement led by Sanders, never came up. No one for, no one against — though by its absence, the message was clear. Democrats in Washington, and those who perhaps aspire to careers in the city, are still choosing caution.
      Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, praised Warren for her “big ideas” on job creation, and shouted out Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley for their ambitious infrastructure programs.
      But he conceded that health care would be a tougher nut to crack.
      “It will take discipline,” he said, “for progressives to pivot to offense and use the oxygen in the room to educate Americans about Medicare for All and big-picture themes like taking on the insurance industry monopolies.”
      There is still more than a year until the midterm elections, and maybe a little while longer before big decisions are made ahead of the party’s presidential primary, but the health care divide isn’t going away.
      And like any other fight among mostly like-minded people, the longer it lingers, the nastier the eventual reckoning.

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      Trump’s alleged boast to Russians could wreck the trust of America’s allies

      The vital intelligence-sharing alliances could see permanent damage if it proves true that Trump shared highly classified information at a recent meeting

      Donald Trumps Oval Office boasting to the Russians, if confirmed, could wreak its deepest and most enduring damage on vital intelligence-sharing by US allies.

      A similar erosion of trust in the presidents loyalties and competence appeared to have accelerated among Trumps political allies in Washington. As the White House fought back hard against the Washington Post report, which was confirmed on Tuesday night by several other US news organisations, it was unclear how far his support from the Republican establishment essential to his survival as president had been weakened.

      In the world of intelligence-sharing among nations, however, any semblance of doubt can be corrosive and irrevocable. Even before this latest indiscretion, there had been rumblings of concern from the CIAs partner agencies abroad, uneasy about the Trump campaigns seemingly cosy relation with Moscow, reports of possible collusion in the 2016 election campaign, and Trumps own disdain for the US intelligence community. He frequently appeared to give more credence to conspiracy sites and the Kremlin that the intelligence briefings he received before taking office.

      During the transition, many allies voiced concern Trump team might share intel with Moscow. Todays news will compound that concern, Colin Kahl, a senior official in the Obama administrations national security council (NSC), said in a tweet.

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      Nelson Mandela Fast Facts

      (CNN)Here is a look at the life of Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of South Africa.

      Death date: December 5, 2013
      Birth place: Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa.
      Birth name: Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela
        Father: Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, a counselor to the royal house of the Thembu tribe
        Mother: Nosekeni Fanny Mandela
        Marriages: Graca Machel (July 18, 1998-December 5, 2013, his death); “Winnie” (Madikizela) Mandela (1958-1996, divorce); Evelyn (Ntoko) Mandela (1944-1958, divorce)
        Children: with Winnie Mandela: Zindzi, 1960 and Zenani, 1959; with Evelyn Mandela: Makaziwe, 1953; Makgatho, 1950-January 6, 2005; Makaziwe, 1947-1948; Thembekile, 1946-1969
        Education: University of South Africa, law degree, 1942
        Other Facts:
        He was given the name Nelson by a school teacher. He was sometimes called Madiba, his traditional clan name.
        Mandela was called both “the world’s most famous political prisoner” and “South Africa’s Great Black Hope.”
        1941-1943 –
        Mandela meets Walter Sisulu who helps him get a job at the law firm of Witkin, Sidelsky, and Eidelman.
        1944 – Joins the African National Congress and helps found the ANC Youth League.
        1951 – Becomes president of the ANC Youth League.
        1952 – Opens the first black law partnership in South Africa with friend Oliver Tambo.
        1952 – Leads the newly launched [ANC] Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws, a program of nonviolent mass resistance.
        July 1952 – Mandela is charged with violating the Suppression of Communism Act.
        December 5, 1956 – Mandela is among 156 resistance leaders arrested and charged with high treason.
        March 21, 1960 – In Sharpeville, police fire upon protestors challenging apartheid laws; 69 people are killed.
        April 8, 1960 – The ANC is banned nine days after Mandela is arrested and the government imposes a state of emergency after the events in Sharpeville.
        March 29, 1961 – Mandela and all co-defendants are found not guilty of treason.
        June 1961 – Mandela begins organizing the armed struggle against apartheid Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nations). He travels in Africa and Europe studying guerrilla warfare.
        August 5, 1962 – Is arrested on charges of inciting workers to strike and leaving the country without valid travel documents. Mandela represents himself at trial.
        November 7, 1962 – Is sentenced to prison, five years hard labor.
        June 12, 1964 – Is sentenced to life in prison for four counts of sabotage. Convicted and sentenced with Mandela are Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg and others.
        1980 – The Johannesburg Sunday Post leads a campaign to free Mandela. A petition demanding his and other ANC prisoners’ release is printed in the newspaper.
        1982 – Is transferred to Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison after 18 years on Robben Island.
        1988 – Is transferred to Victor Verster Prison.
        July 5, 1989 – Meets with President P.W. Botha.
        August 15, 1989 – Botha resigns as president and head of the National Party. Frederik Willem de Klerk replaces him and begins dismantling apartheid.
        December 13, 1989 – Mandela and de Klerk meet for the first time.
        February 11, 1990 – Mandela is released from prison after more than 27 years.
        1990 – Embarks on a world tour, visiting Margaret Thatcher, the US Congress, and US President George H.W. Bush.
        July 1991 – Mandela is elected president of the ANC.
        1993 – Mandela and de Klerk share the Nobel Peace Prize.
        April 29, 1994 – Elected the first black president of the Republic of South Africa in the first open election in the country’s history.
        May 10, 1994 – Mandela is inaugurated.
        June 1999 – Mandela leaves office.
        1999 – Establishes the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
        January 19, 2000 – Addresses the UN Security Council, appealing for help in ending the brutal civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi.
        July 25, 2001 – Announces that he has prostate cancer and is undergoing treatment.
        January 31, 2003 – Mandela criticizes President George W. Bush‘s stance on Iraq, saying he has no foresight and can’t think properly.
        November 29, 2003 – Aids awareness event, the 46664 Concert (Mandela’s prison number) at Green Point stadium in Cape Town. The event draws 30,000+ fans with performances by Beyonce, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Bob Geldof and many more; and speeches by Mandela and Geldof.
        December 1, 2003 – Mandela participates in the signing of the Geneva Accords for peace in the Middle East.
        January 7, 2005 – Announces that his son, Makgatho Mandela, has died of AIDS and that the disease should be given publicity so that people will stop viewing it as extraordinary.
        March 21, 2005 – Hosts the “46664 concert” in George, South Africa, to promote AIDS awareness.
        August 29, 2007 – A bronze statue of Mandela is unveiled in Parliament Square in London.
        June 27, 2008 – A London concert is held at Hyde Park in honor of Mandela’s 90th birthday (on July 18) with all proceeds going to an AIDS charity. It is estimated that about 40,000 tickets were sold.
        July 18, 2009 – The Nelson Mandela Foundation creates Mandela Day to be held every year on his birthday. The purpose of the day is to bring awareness to community service.
        November 11, 2009 – The United Nations declares July 18th Nelson Mandela International Day.
        December 11, 2009 – The movie Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman as Mandela opens in South Africa, Canada and the United States.
        February 11, 2010 – On the 20th anniversary of Mandela’s release from prison tributes, commemorations and marches in his honor take place.
        June 11, 2010 – Mandela makes his first World Cup appearance before kickoff of the final match.
        January 26-28, 2011 – Is hospitalized in Johannesburg and treated for an acute respiratory infection.
        June 21, 2011 – Meets with US First Lady Michelle Obama at his home in South Africa.
        February 25-26, 2012 – Treated for an abdominal hernia.
        March 2012 – The Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project is launched. Google gives a $1.25 million grant to help preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents including items donated by Mandela himself.
        December 8, 2012 – Is admitted to the hospital, suffering a lung infection.
        December 15, 2012 – Undergoes successful endoscopic surgery to have gall stones removed.
        January 6, 2013 – A spokesman says Mandela has successfully recovered from surgery and a lung infection and is slowly getting back to his normal routine.
        March 27, 2013 – Is admitted to the hospital due to the recurrence of a lung infection.
        April 6, 2013 – Mandela is discharged from the hospital.
        April 29, 2013 – The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) releases video of Mandela as he sits at home surrounded by South Africa President Jacob Zuma and other government officials. SABC and the African National Congress, which has been critical of media in the past, are accused of political exploitation.
        June 8, 2013 -Mandela is admitted to hospital with a recurring lung infection. The former president is listed in serious but stable condition and is breathing on his own.
        June 23, 2013 – Officials say Mandela’s condition has worsened in the past 24 hours, and he is now in critical condition.
        August 31, 2013 – Is discharged from the hospital to continue his recovery at home. According to President Zuma he is still listed in “critical but stable condition but responding to treatment.”
        December 5, 2013 – Mandela dies at his home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton. South African President Zuma orders all flags in the nation to be flown at half-staff through the state funeral.
        December 15, 2013 – Mandela is buried in his childhood village of Qunu.

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        Hope You Don’t Expect The Senate GOP To Be Transparent About Obamacare Repeal

        Senate Republicans have spent the last 10 days or so promising not to tackle health care in the same hurried, irresponsible way that their House counterparts did. We are not under any deadlines, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) saidlast week, so we are going to take our time.

        They have also suggested they have little interest in drafting something that looks like the American Health Care Act the wildly unpopular House bill that would roll back many of the Affordable Care Acts most important insurance regulations and deprive something like 24 million people of coverage. Were starting over from a clean sheet of paper here, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) promised.

        All of that is probably true and less meaningful than it sounds at first blush.

        Its possible to write a bill in a slower, more deliberative manner than the House did without allowing the kind lengthy, open public debate that legislation of such magnitude would seem to require. Its also possible to pass less disruptive, less extreme legislation that would nevertheless take away insurance from many millions of people, causing widespread hardship.

        In fact, from the looks of things, this is precisely what Senate Republican leaders are trying to do.

        GOP leaders are trying to shield their legislation from scrutiny

        The big boast Senate Republicans are making is that they wont vote on legislation before the Congressional Budget Office has a chance to analyze it. Thats what House Republicans did when they voted on their bill last week, less than 24 hours after making amendments that had potential to affect insurance coverage and the federal budget in fairly significant ways.

        Yall, Im still waiting to see if its a boy or a girl, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) quipped afterward. Any bill that has been posted less than 24 hours, going to be debated three or four hours, not scored? Needs to be viewed with suspicion.

        But voting without a CBO score was merely one way in which the House rushed its debate.

        House leaders wrote legislation privately and then pushed it through the two committees of jurisdiction with markup sessions that lasted just one day each. Leaders had to pull the bill from the House floor at the last minute, because it lacked enough support to pass, but their response was to return to private negotiations, hash out the additional amendments, and then proceed quickly with the final vote.

        Even those House Republicans who had time to read and study the final language (many admitted they hadnt) probably didnt grasp its implications, because those implications were still becoming apparent in real time. Two days before the vote, for example, a Brookings Institution report showed how the bill could bring back annual and lifetime limits on benefits, even for employer policies.

        You saw what the House Republicans did. When you dont read it, you dont know what the impact is. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

        Those limits, which the Affordable Care Act prohibits, would be a huge deal for that tiny portion of Americans dealing with the most severe medical problems think aggressive cancer that requires chemotherapy and surgery, or genetic disorders that require long stays in neonatal care. By the time a Wall Street Journal article on the subject brought the possibility to national attention, the vote was just hours away too late for new information to have an effect.

        Of course that was precisely what House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his allies were trying to accomplish to avoid public scrutiny, to get legislation through the House before either the media or the public could recognize and seize on its shortcomings. Now it looks like Senate Republicans are intent upon doing the same thing.

        Back in March, the first time the House was set to vote on repeal, Senate leaders indicated that they intended to bypass the two committees that had jurisdiction.Probably straight to the floor, Cornyn told CNN, when asked about the plan, Because there has already been a lot of consultations on a bicameral basis to get us here.

        Leadership hasnt said much about his plans since that time, and the office of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to answer HuffPosts inquiries about process and timetable. But on Wednesday, finance committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told The Hill, I dont think its going to go through the committees, at least from what I know about it.

        Democrats are furious, in part because most of them were around in 2009 and 2010 when they spent more than a year writing and debating what eventually became the Affordable Care Act. For all of the discussion that took place behind closed doors back then, quite a lot took place in public over the course of more than 130 hearings, spanning five committees, according to a Democratic tally that didnt even include administration events like the daylong, bipartisan session at Blair House that President Barack Obama presided over personally.

        We had 45 bipartisan hearings and roundtables, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in an interview. Every issue and aspect of this was discussed. People had a chance to really see the impact line by line, amendment by amendment and know what they were actually passing.

        You saw what the House Republicans did, Murray added. When you dont read it, you dont know what the impact is. And somebody who is being impacted doesnt have a chance to say, Wait a minute, that doesnt work for me.

        This isnt just some partisan talking point. Norm Ornstein, a respected political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute, says, The push and pull, give and take of an open markup can make a bad bill, with stupid provisions, sloppy drafting, unintended consequences, repeated mistakes from past experience, a better one.

        Earlier this week,Murray and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking Democrat on the finance committee, sent their GOP counterparts a letter demanding hearings. They have not gotten a formal response, and neither did HuffPost inquiries to those offices, except for a statement from Hatchs office that he appreciates Senate Democrats renewed interest in improving the nations healthcare system and welcomes their input and ideas as we move through this debate.

        Most Republicans seem ready to accept some pretty big cuts

        One reason the House bill is so spectacularly unpopular is the likelihood that it will leave so many millions of Americans without health insurance. And from the very beginning of the debate, senators have been warning, publicly and privately, that they could not abide such dramatic losses of coverage.

        Many of those warnings focused on the American Health Care Acts proposed cuts to Medicaid. That includes phasing out the new funding available through Obamacare that the states have used to expand eligibility for the program effectively making it available to all people with incomes below or just above the poverty line. Among the 32 states that have accepted the money and expanded the program are more than a dozen with Republican senators.

        One of them is Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has reportedly taken the lead on figuring out how the Senate legislation will deal with Medicaid. Something like 700,000 of his constituents got insurance through the Medicaid expansion, and the program has become a critical source of financing for opioid treatment, as well as for community clinics that provide basic medical care to the poor. Ohios Medicaid expansion also has a vocal, influential champion in Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio), one of about a half-dozen Republican governorswho have lobbied hard to keep the expansion in place.

        But Portman told reporters on Wednesday that he was looking for a soft landing on Medicaid and that he supported ending expansion funding eventually. A key letter on Medicaid he and three other Republican senators wrote during the early stages of House debate was careful to talk about stability for individuals currently enrolled in the program which suggests they are open to a proposal that tapers off funding slowly, and lets people who qualify under the expansion hold onto Medicaid until their enrollment lapses.

        Thats actually what the House bill already does. The Medicaid population would still drop sharply in the first three years, CBO predicts, because low-income people tend to have volatile incomes and lose eligibility quickly. Senate Republicans might have some other ideas for stretching out the transition they have said very little publicly but it appears to be a matter of when, not whether, the expansion population loses its coverage.

        Clearly the House has done some important work, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said this week. I think wed like to take the Medicaid provision and engineer a softer landing and eventually get to the same place

        The House bill wouldnt simply roll back the Medicaid expansion. It would also introduce a per capita cap that would reduce the programs funding over time. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), who joined the Portman letter and whose home state is particularly dependent on Medicaid, left a meeting two days ago saying that the Senate was open to per capita caps a tell-tale sign that the cap, or something like it, could end up in final legislation.

        And then there are the implications that repeal could have for people purchasing coverage on their own, either directly from insurers or through and state-run insurance exchanges. Senate Republicans have said the House bill would punish older consumers too much, by allowing insurers to charge near-retirement seniors up to five times what they charge younger consumers and, simultaneously, by rearranging the Affordable Care Acts financial aid so that it doesnt provide extra help to people with high insurance costs.

        But they havent made the same fuss about the way the House bill also shifts assistance away from lower-income consumers, which is a big reason why so many people would lose coverage. And key members like Hatch seem committed both to cutting as much spending as possible and rescinding the Affordable Care Acts taxes, including hefty levies on corporations and the wealthiest American households. The net result is likely to be large losses of insurance coverage, even if they are not as large as the losses in the House bill.

        Senate politics are tricky enough that public pressure matters

        GOP leaders face some big obstacles as they try to craft a bill that can pass, and most likely those obstacles are bigger than the ones that stood in the way of Ryan and his allies earlier this year.

        In the Senate, Republicans need 50 votes to pass legislation, assuming Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie, and they have only 52 seats. Already two of their members, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), have called explicitly to preserve or even expand the Affordable Care Acts expansion of insurance coverage. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who is among those who have been most openly critical of the House bill, faces a difficult re-election fight in a Democratic state.

        Put those together with the likes of Capito, Portman and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and their strong feelings about protecting the Medicaid expansion population, and its easy to see how the Senate could end up with a bill thats less extreme than the House version or maybe no bill at all.

        But even Cassidy and Collins have left themselves wiggle room, which means they could end up supporting a bill in exchange for minor modifications, just as so-called moderates in the House did. And they will be fighting ultra-conservatives like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), whose idea of compromise is a bill that looks like the House bill or is maybe even more extreme.

        The deciding factor could be public reaction, but the public cant react to a bill unless it gets a good look at it. It appears Republican leaders are trying not to let that happen.

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