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Friday, Dec 15th

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Health Bill Appears Dead as Pivotal G.O.P. Senator Declares Opposition

Susan Collins will vote no on ACA repealSenator Susan Collins of Maine said on Monday that she would oppose the latest plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, leaving Republican leaders clearly short of the votes they need for passage.

Ms. Collins, a Republican, announced her opposition in a written statement, delivering a significant and possibly fatal blow to the party’s seven-year quest to dismantle the health law.

“Health care is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy. Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target,” Ms. Collins said in the statement.

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Protesters fill halls outside ObamaCare repeal hearing

Protesters fill Congressional hearing hallsProtesters filled the halls of a Senate office building Monday, waiting in a long, snaking line to get into a hearing room for the consideration of the GOP ObamaCare repeal bill.

Some of those in line in the Dirksen Senate Office Building said they arrived at 5 a.m. to get a spot before the 2 p.m. hearing.

The Senate Finance Committee's hearing on Monday will be the only one on the last-ditch repeal effort from GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.). It comes just days before a potential vote.

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Cruz, GOP colleagues back away from Obamacare repeal bill

GOP backs away from repeal of ACAThe embattled effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act faced further setbacks as Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, voiced reservations.

Cruz said Sunday at the Texas Tribune festival in Austin that he does not support the current version of the proposal by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Lindsey Graham , R-S.C.

"Right now, they don't have my vote and I don't think they have Mike Lee's vote either," he said, referring to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

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Congress should protect evidence gathered by Mueller in Russia probe, experts warn

Bob Graham, D-FlWith the continuing possibility that President Trump could fire special counsel Robert Mueller to thwart the Russia investigation, there is danger once again that key documents could be destroyed, veterans of special investigations warn. They are urging Congress to act quickly to help save crucial evidence before Mueller's team of prosecutors finds itself in the same predicament Akerman faced in 1973.

"Before that worst-case scenario occurs, this is the best time for the congressional committees to make sure that all of Mueller's documents, transcripts and other material goes to them if he is fired," said former senator Bob Graham, D-Fla., past chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-chairman of a joint Senate-House investigation into intelligence community activities before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

TVNL Comment:  Don't you think that mounds of evidence has already been destroyed?  We'll see....

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AARP: GOP repeal could raise seniors' healthcare cost by $16K a year

GOP bill could cost seniors A new study Thursday by the American Association of Retired Persons found that the Republicans' proposed healthcare repeal bill could hike costs substantially for older Americans.

The Graham-Cassidy effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act "threatens to make health care unaffordable and inaccessible for millions of older Americans," the AARP report said.

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House passes Harvey aid, debt limit extension, government funding

House passes Harvey aid billThe House on Friday passed a nearly $15.3 billion disaster aid package that also raises the debt ceiling and extends government funding for three months into December.

Lawmakers approved the legislation 316-90, and it now heads to President Trump's desk.

The massive package will replenish rapidly dwindling emergency accounts as Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Irma this weekend and Texas picks up the pieces after the devastation of the Harvey storm.

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Democrats Renew Push to Probe Deutsche Bank Russia Scandal

Deutsche Bank involvement in Russia probe pushedA handful of Democratic lawmakers have renewed their effort to get a powerful House Republican to investigate Deutsche Bank AG’s loans to President Donald Trump and the bank’s role in helping Russians move billions of dollars from Moscow to the west.

In a letter to Jeb Hensarling of Texas, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Representative Maxine Waters of California, the committee’s ranking Democrat, urged him to issue subpoenas to Deutsche Bank. She wants to force the German lender to disclose its internal review of the so-called “mirror-trading” scandal that has cost the bank more than $600 million in fines and penalties, and a separate review it conducted concerning Trump, who borrowed more than $300 million in real estate loans years before running for office.

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