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Both Parties Face Leadership Struggles

Both parties face leadership struggles as House returns. NYT: "The House returns from its July Fourth recess this week in a state of remarkable uncertainty, with both Democrats and Republicans facing open questions about their leaders’ futures and neither party sure about which will be in control after November’s elections. 'Sometimes things have to be torn down before they can be built back up,” said Representative Brian Higgins, Democrat of New York. “And I think we are in the tearing down phase, at least in the House.' For Democrats, the loss in a primary last month of a popular lawmaker seen as a potential House speaker has injected new complications into an inevitable and messy struggle over control of the caucus... struggles are playing out against the backdrop of November’s elections, in which control of the House could tip to the Democrats for the first time in nearly a decade. And hanging over it all is President Trump, who has reshaped both parties, moving them toward the political poles even as he fortifies a hunger for tougher leadership."

WH Freezes Payments Required By Affordable Care Act

Trump administration halts billions in insurance payments under Obamacare. Reuters: "The Trump administration on Saturday halted billions of dollars in payments to health insurers under the Obamacare healthcare law, saying that a recent federal court ruling prevents the money from being disbursed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers programs under the Affordable Care Act, said the action affects $10.4 billion in risk adjustment payments. President Donald Trump’s administration has used its regulatory powers to undermine Obamacare after the Republican-controlled Congress last year failed to repeal and replace the law. About 20 million Americans have received health insurance coverage through the program. The payments are intended to help stabilize health insurance markets by compensating insurers that had sicker, more expensive enrollees in 2017. The government collects the money from health insurers with relatively healthy enrollees, who cost less to insure."

Trump To Reveal SCOTUS Nominee

Trump to reveal SCOTUS pick in prime-time. NPR: "Because Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the Senate, there's political pressure on President Trump to pick a Supreme Court nominee who would be easy to confirm. Trump plans to reveal his choice from a list hand-crafted for him by Federalist Society vice president Leonard Leo on Monday evening."

Trump Outsources SCOTUS Picks

Leonard Leo's unprecedented influence over the Supreme Court. Daily Beast: "When President Donald Trump nominates a justice to the Supreme Court on Monday night, he will be carrying out the agenda of a small, secretive network of extremely conservative Catholic activists already responsible for placing three justices (Alito, Roberts, and Gorsuch) on the high court. And yet few people know who they are—until now. At the center of the network is Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, the association of legal professionals that has been the pipeline for nearly all of Trump’s judicial nominees. (Leo is on leave from the Federalist Society to personally assist Trump in picking a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy.) His formal title is executive vice president, but that role belies Leo’s influence. Directly or through surrogates, he has placed dozens of life-tenure judges on the federal bench; effectively controls the Judicial Crisis Network, which led the opposition to President Obama’s high court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland; he heavily influences the Becket Fund law firm that represented Hobby Lobby in its successful challenge of contraception; and now supervises admissions and hires at the George Mason Law School, newly renamed in memory of Justice Antony Scalia."

Young Candidates Reinvigorate Climate Politics

Young leftists reinvigorate climate politics. The Intercept: "On the same day Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won an upset victory in her primary against Wall Street-friendly incumbent Joe Crowley — one of the most powerful Democrats in the House — a New Yorker nearly 50 years her senior fed rumors that he would seek the highest office in the land. Aside from pouring $80 million to support a set of handpicked Democratic congressional hopefuls, billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg once again seems to be angling to run for president. Business Insider columnist Daniella Greenbaum took the opportunity to assert: 'Democrats need to choose: Are they the party of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or the party of Michael Bloomberg?' One key difference might be less obvious and a bellwether for climate politics post-2018 if a blue wave sweeps Democrats back into power on Capitol Hill: how they plan to tackle climate change."

KY Protestors Confront McConnell

Mitch McConnell confronted by protestors in Kentucky. Alternet: "'"Where are the babies, Mitch?' protesters demanded. When your own constituents protest your existence on a quiet Saturday morning, you know there's a problem. Enter: Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky. A large rally was held in downtown Louisville, Ky. on Saturday morning to protest ICE. The Courier Journal reported that McConnell was a no-show and at the demonstration and issued no statements or comments in response. Later in the day, McConnell was leaving dinner at Bristol Bar & Grille in Louisville when protesters stormed his car. A group of Louisville residents, including several @DemSocialists members, had a message for Mitch McConnell as he left a local restaurant today. Powerful people like Mitch deserve no peace while they enable the imprisonment of babies in concentration camps."

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