Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
Although Republicans basically have no idea what they will be voting on, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly again on the verge of having just enough votes to lurch the party’s poisonous healthcare bill forward to its next legislative step.
McConnell has virtually no room for error as he attempts to drudge up the votes to open debate on the bill, which contains deeply unpopular cuts to Medicaid and would throw tens of millions off their insurance. The tightness of the vote was underscored by the news Monday night that Sen. John McCain would return to Washington to vote on the measure less than a week after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer.
The vote would just be to open debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans aren’t hiding the fact that they’re being as vague as possible about the finer details in an effort to win over senators.
Senators from both the moderate and conservative wings of the party—who have both held McConnell’s plan captive for weeks—could again be the deciding factor, with Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, and Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas all still undecided on the procedural vote, according to Politico. Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul remain probable “no” votes. (UPDATE, July 25, 2017, 12:02 PM ET: Paul tweeted he would vote to proceed with the healthcare debate if the bill at hand is “clean repeal,” a narrow measure to strip away Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, rather than McConnell’s repeal-and-replace legislation.)
Of course, while McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence, who would break a tie vote, spend hours strategizing behind closed doors to deliver a policy that Republicans have been promising for years, President Donald Trump has been tweeting a bunch of abuse about his attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
Trump recently made it crystal clear how much he disapproves of Sessions, one of his first and only supporters in the Senate during the campaign who left a safe seat to join the administration, recusing himself from the Russia probe.
Now the president all but confirmed that he’s shopping for Sessions’ replacement:
- Trump also delivered a batshit insane speech at the annual Boy Scouts jamboree last night, delivering such instant classics as: “Just a question, did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?”; “Under the Trump administration, you’ll be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again when you go shopping. Believe me. Merry Christmas!”; and “The polls — that’s also fake news. They’re fake polls.”
- Speaking of scouts, the Girl Scouts are adding 23 new badges in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, so young girls will now be recognized for doing things like computer programming.