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GOP Health Repeal Dead, For Now

Two more Senate Republicans oppose health-care bill, leaving it without votes to pass. WaPo: “Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) issued statements declaring that they would not vote for the revamped measure. The sudden breaks by Lee, a staunch conservative, and Moran, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), rocked the GOP leadership and effectively closed what already had been an increasingly narrow path to passage for the bill.”

Collapse of Republican health care bill deals blow to Trump agenda. NPR: “After seven years of promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republican efforts at passing a health care bill on their own may have ended Monday night as the bill working its way through the Senate was effectively blocked… Shortly afterward, President Trump wrote, ‘Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put out a statement promising to do just that, pointing to a 2015 bill passed by Congress and vetoed by President Obama. It would repeal the ACA with a two-year delay, giving a fixed deadline for Congress to replace the law. McConnell would still need 50 votes to bring that to the floor and it’s not clear he would have those votes.”

Budget, Tax Battles Loom

House Republicans unveil 2018 budget with tax reform instructions. Reuters: “Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives took a first step toward tax reform on Tuesday, with the release of a fiscal 2018 budget plan that would allow a tax reform package to pass the U.S. Congress without support from Democrats. The $4 trillion blueprint, which must be approved by both the House and Senate, would also set the stage for a Republican-only repeal of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law and $203 billion in savings from mandatory federal programs including food stamps over the next decade.”

Trump plans blitzkrieg to sell tax cuts for rich. Axios: “The administration will start pitching the tax reform effort in mid-August, according to sources involved. They’re hoping to get the bill itself finalized for mark-ups after Labor Day (count us as skeptical on that.) But while that happens, expect to see CEOs, White House surrogates, and high-profile conservative activists start talking up the plan. Sources close to the effort say the White House is looking to avoid the mistakes of the health care debacle, when they failed miserably to build nationwide support.”

House conservatives fear health-care deja vu on secret tax plan. Bloomberg: “House conservative leaders worry they’ll be forced to vote to advance a vehicle for a tax-code rewrite without knowing details of the plan, setting up a repeat of Congress’s troubled efforts on health-care legislation. With a committee markup of a key budget resolution scheduled for Wednesday, leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have demanded details about the tax package and about welfare-spending cuts that GOP leaders have agreed to in principle. But they’ve received no guarantees, and the prospects for seeing specifics ahead of a budget vote appear to be diminishing.”

Education Under Fire

DeVos undermines civil rights and favors predatory lenders over students. TruthOut: “DeVos said earlier this month that she wanted to return the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights ‘to its role as a neutral, impartial, investigative agency. An official with the office came under fire last week after she said that most campus rape claims amount to two young people who are “both drunk.” Meanwhile, attorneys general in 18 states are suing DeVos and the Department of Education over a rule to protect student loan borrowers that was set to go into effect on July 1, until DeVos announced a “reset” of the rule, known as “borrower defense to repayment.”

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