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Republicans Skittish Over Health Care

GOP Sen . Tom Cotton warns House Republicans against approving health care bill as is, on ABC’s This Week: “I would say to my friends in the House of Representatives with whom I serve, ‘Do not walk the plank and vote for a bill that cannot pass the Senate and then have to face the consequences of that vote … I don’t want to see the House majority put at risk on a bill that is not going to pass the Senate.”

Another Republican senator criticizes repeal bill in leaked audio. Politico: “‘My argument with the Republicans is if we’re going to make the changes, don’t repeal the Affordable Care Act so you can keep all the taxes. I think that’s unfair and I don’t think that’s a responsible way to move forward,’ [Sen. Dean] Heller said. The House bill does eliminate some taxes on wealthy people.”

Speaker Ryan refuses to answer how many people will lose health coverage on CBS’ “Face The Nation”: “Asked … approximately how many people will lose coverage if the American Health Care Act is passed, Ryan replied: ‘I can’t answer that question. It’s up to people … People are going to do what they want to do with their lives because we believe in individual freedom in this country.'”

Trump to meet with “victims of Obamacare” today reports Politico.

CBO score imminent. Politico: “The Congressional Budget Office is set to release its ‘score’ — the fiscal and practical impact — of the Republican health-care bill today or tomorrow and it’s not expected to be pretty.”

Prominent DREAMer Released

DREAMer released from detention. The Nation: ” On Friday, Daniela Vargas, a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mississippi who was arrested by immigration officials after publicly speaking out about a raid on her family’s home, was released by immigration officials … the Trump administration is perhaps more sensitive to public protest and legal tussles than it might admit to. ICE did not respond to queries for comment.”

Another DREAMer writes on his continued detainment in W. Post: “I’ve been in an immigrant detention center in Tacoma, Wash., for more than a month. That’s a month away from my family, a month further away from doing everything I can to support my 3-year-old son and a lifetime away from the future my parents wished for me when I was brought here from Mexico at age 7. I’ve spent nearly my whole life in the United States … the government already knows that I’m not a gang member.”

Trump may lower hiring standards for Border Patrol. Mother Jones: “[Customs and Border Protection] has requested approval to ease its stringent hiring standards, which include background investigations and polygraph exams mandated by Congress in 2010 after the misconduct allegations came to light.”

Europe, California Press Trump On Climate

Europe tries to keep Trump from pulling out of Paris climate agreement. Politico: “Germany, France, Italy, the European Commission and others see two high-profile gatherings of world leaders — this summer’s G7 and G20 summits in Italy and Germany — as the perfect opportunities to push the Trump administration to take a stance on climate, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the White House on Tuesday as a potential prelude. But they’re still unsure how to approach a president who has questioned the value of U.S. alliances and dismissed climate change as a Chinese hoax … it’s not certain that the issue will make it onto Tuesday’s agenda, which could also include issues like NATO, trade and EU relations…”

“EPA, California prepare to battle over clean air rules. Mother Jones: “…13 (mostly northeastern) states and Washington, DC have adopted California’s extra-stringent emissions standards … California’s waiver makes it hard for the feds to weaken anything … the EPA doesn’t have to kill the waiver process if it just refuses to issue any new ones. It might even have the legal right to rescind already granted waivers. But California can fight back—and it’s got a stocked arsenal.”

Labor Nominee Hearing Delayed

“Hearing delayed for Trump labor nominee because senator is going to Trump rally” reports CNN: “Alexander Acosta’s confirmation hearing, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday, was pushed back a week because the chairman of the committee overseeing his confirmation is traveling with Trump to a rally in Nashville … Acosta will now appear before the committee March 22. Committee members will vote on Acosta’s nomination the week after that …”

Acosta allowed illegal hiring when at Justice Department. NYT: “In 2008 … the Justice Department’s in-house investigator laid out a damning conclusion: Under Mr. Acosta’s watch, his office had repeatedly violated federal law and department policies by weighing political affiliations in hiring and assessing civil rights employees … Some described him as a hands-off leader who has often chosen not to inject himself into disputes, sometimes tolerating a discriminatory environment if inaction has served his interests.”

Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Purdue has long history of lining friends’ pockets. Politico: “A POLITICO examination of Perdue’s list of appointments when he was governor — from 2003 to 2011 — found more than a dozen instances when he gave positions to business associates and campaign donors, and other occasions when he rewarded his state staff with opportunities in his agriculture and shipping empire after he left office.”

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