Talking Points Memo: White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Wednesday night compared Republican lawmakers' ongoing efforts to repeal Obamacare to former President Abraham Lincoln's abolition of slavery. "If you've read Team of Rivals, it took Lincoln three or four times to get what he wanted from the Senate and the House of Representatives, which was the full abolition of slavery," Scaramucci said. "That was a much tougher thing to get done than what we're working on right now, but it's too early."
President Donald Trump isn't going to just let Sen. Lisa Murkowski's no vote on Tuesday's health care motion go. Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski's vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska's two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska's future with the administration in jeopardy. The response follows Trump's no-holds-barred style of governing, even when it comes to his own party. It is his first strike of retaliation against Murkowski, however, despite her tendency to stray from the party line and the president's priorities. Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said the call from Zinke heralded a "troubling message."
Sen. Susan Collins inadvertently responded to Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold's allegorical challenge to a duel.
During the end of a hearing at the Senate Appropriations Committee, Collins was caught with an unidentified male senator, identified by other media as Connecticut Democrat Jack Reed, talking about Fahrenthold.
"Did you hear him challenge me to a duel," Collins said.
The male senator joked with Collins saying, "You could beat the s--t out of him."
Collins said in response, "He's so unattractive. it's unbelievable."
Then she added, "Did you see that picture of him in his pajamas?"
On Monday, Farenthold told radio station KEYS it was "absolutely repugnant" that "some female senators from the Northeast" were blocking Republican attempts to repeal the 2010 health care law, appearing to address Collins, who is from Maine, and other female Republican senators who have had issues with the GOP plan.
Personal bankruptcy filings are down 50 percent over the past six years. Some of that decline is due to the Affordable Care Act. Consumer Reports is out with a new analysis that looks at how the ACA may have helped millions of Americans from taking the extreme step of filing for bankruptcy. Courts never ask people why they are filing, but many bankruptcy and legal experts Consumer Reports spoke with agree that medical bills had been a leading cause of personal bankruptcy before health insurance expanded under the ACA. Medical bills are often unexpected and large and unavoidable, so people who don't have insurance can run up massive debt in a relatively short period of time. read more
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. Trump offered Scaramucci the job at 10 a.m. The president requested that Spicer stay on, but Spicer told Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to a person with direct knowledge of the exchange.