Fox News Halftime Report

GOP pushes quick passage on ObamaCare cuts

Chris Stirewalt

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On the roster: GOP pushes quick passage on ObamaCare cuts - I’ll Tell You What: Throw me a bone! - Trump tweets no tapes of Comey conversations - Pelosi under fire from fellow Dems - Not all heroes wear capes… or do they?

Fox News: “Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a draft version of their healthcare reform bill that cuts Medicaid, ends penalties for people not buying insurance and reshapes subsidies to low-income users. The bill, revealed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, could go to a vote as early as next week. Senate Republicans made the proposal public in a bid to stem criticism that they have been slow to respond to a House version of an ObamaCare overhaul. ‘More Americans are going to get hurt if we do nothing,’ McConnell said from the Senate floor. The 142-page draft of the bill, which also prohibits states from opting out of key protections for patients with preexisting conditions, eliminates much of former President Obama’s signature health care legislation. The measure would repeal tax increases Obama's law imposed on higher-income people and medical industry companies to pay for expanded coverage. And it would end the tax penalty Obama's statute imposes on people who don't buy insurance -- in effect, ending the so-called individual mandate.

The deets… - Bloomberg: “The plan, released Thursday after months of closed-door meetings, includes $15 billion a year in market-stabilizing funds over the next two years and $10 billion a year in 2020 and 2021. These payments would come in addition to cost-sharing subsidy payments, which would be extended through 2019. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has previously said he wants the full Senate to vote on the measure next week, but it’s not clear if the GOP will have the votes to pass it. … The draft bill also would provide $62 billion allocated over eight years to a state innovation fund, which can be used for coverage for high-risk patients, reinsurance and other items. The draft bill would phase out Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid over three years, starting in 2021. The 142-page bill, H.R. 1628, will be subject to significant revisions…”

Conservatives already want to amend it - Axios: “Sen. Ted Cruz may try to amend the bill to let insurers sell health plans that don't comply with Affordable Care Act rules — but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may not let him, because he doesn't want any Republican amendments. … It's unclear whether that's going to be a problem for conservatives like Cruz or Sen. Mike Lee, but the House Freedom Caucus wants it included in what the Senate sends back over to the House. And that could affect the chances of a final version getting through the House, even if the Senate can pass it. … Dubbed the Consumer Choice Act, the policy would allow insurers that sell Affordable Care Act health plans on the exchange to also sell any state-approved plans that don't meet ACA standards. People purchasing those plans could use their premium subsidy to do so, unlike under current law.”

Trump: Senate health care bill ‘going to be very good’ - Politico: “[President Trump]’s remarks come just hours after Senate Republicans revealed a discussion draft for their bill, which would repeal key aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Trump spoke at the American Leadership in Emerging Technology event, which was part of the administration's ‘tech week’ theme. When asked if the bill has enough heart, Trump replied ‘A little negotiation, but it's going to be very good,’ according to a pool report. Trump said he welcomes Democrats' support, but slammed them for not offering any support to repeal their signature legislative item. ‘Obamacare is dead and we're putting a plan out today that is going to be negotiated,’ Trump said. ‘We'd love to have some Democrats' support but they're obstructionists.’”

I’ll Tell You What: Throw me a bone!
Republicans get a reprieve in Georgia, but can they turn it into momentum for their agenda… This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the results of the Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District and the upcoming reveal of the health care bill in the Senate. Also, find out who Dana describes as a “dream killer” and Chris’s list of underrated presidents. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE

“It is a matter both of wonder and regret, that those who raise so many objections against the new Constitution should never call to mind the defects of that which is to be exchanged for it.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 38

TIME OUT: JOURNALIST OF THE PAST, MOLDED THE FUTURE “By the time Lowell Thomas turned 25, he’d already worked as a journalist, earned multiple degrees, and found a place on the faculty at Princeton University. But seizing a rare opportunity during World War I changed him from youthful overachiever to media heavyweight. … The encounter launched Thomas into the media stratosphere with a groundbreaking multimedia presentation that captivated millions. But while Lawrence’s work ended abruptly with his untimely death, Thomas went on to live a long, remarkable life. He traveled Europe, the Middle East, India, Afghanistan, New Guinea and Tibet, even meeting the Dalai Lama. He made fans out of Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill and led a prolific career in the news, making reports by print, radio, and TV—and reshaping them all into more formal, serious mediums. Yet for a man with such a hyperbolic life, his legacy has been largely forgotten. … Few Americans today recognize his name, but Lowell Thomas was as well known in his time as any American journalist ever has been. His was the trusted voice that kept Americans abreast of world events in turbulent decades.”

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Trump net job-approval rating: -18 points
Change from one week ago: -0.6 points

USA Today: “Mystery solved: No, President Trump doesn't have recordings of former FBI director James Comey. ‘With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea ... whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,’ Trump said in a pair of tweets Thursday. Trump did not explain why he made the suggestion that he secretly recorded conversations with his former FBI director in the first place, which came in a May tweet shortly after he fired Comey. … Trump had consistently refused to say whether or not tapes actually exist. House members running their own Russia investigations sent the White House a letter asking the White House to submit any tapes by June 23 – which is Friday. The president made his disclosure a day before the deadline.” 

Trump asked intel chiefs to refute Russia collusion
- WashEx: “Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers told special counsel Robert Mueller's team and Senate investigators last week that President Trump had asked each of them to publicly state his campaign associates did not collude with Russia in the November election, according to a report Thursday. Trump was said to have approached the men after former FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee in mid-March that the FBI was investigating ‘the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.’”

FBI fired Gorka for anti-Muslim diatribes -
Daily Beast: “The inflammatory pundit Sebastian Gorka worked for the FBI while he was a paid consultant to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, lecturing bureau employees on counterterrorism issues. Until the FBI terminated Gorka for his over-the-top Islamophobic rhetoric. The Daily Beast has learned that the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended its contract with Gorka just months before he joined the White House as a senior adviser to President Trump. Law-enforcement officials attending an August 2016 lecture from Gorka, whose academic credentials and affiliation with a pro-Nazi group have recently come under fire, were disturbed to hear a diatribe against Muslims passed off as instruction on the fundamentals of counterterrorism.”

White House tries to water down Russia sanctions bill -
NYT: “The White House is quietly lobbying House Republicans to weaken a bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate last week that would slap tough new sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election and allow Congress to block any future move by President Trump to lift any penalties against Moscow. The effort is designed to head off an awkward and politically damaging veto fight between the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress on Russia at a time when Mr. Trump is laboring under the shadow of multiple investigations about his campaign’s potential collusion with Moscow.”

The Judge’s Ruling: Is he or isn’t he?
Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano examines if the president is to be subject to a criminal investigation by the FBI: “Yet as a sitting president, Trump cannot be indicted for any criminal behavior committed while in office. Hence he cannot be a ‘target’ of an FBI investigation.” More here.

NY Post: “Democrats are wondering if is time to ditch Nancy Pelosi as their leader after suffering a stinging defeat Tuesday night in the special election for a congressional seat in Georgia. The ultra-liberal House minority leader was featured in numerous GOP ads linking her to 30-year-old political novice Jon Ossoff, a Democratic recruit, in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election. … ‘A lot of Democrats are tired of her and tired of defending her,’ said political analyst Larry Sabato. ‘When you’re as controversial as Pelosi is, you become pretty well-known and universally disliked. The image of her for the Democrats is just awful.’ Sabato, who heads the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said he heard from several senior Democrats Tuesday night who were less than pleased with Pelosi’s impact on the Georgia race. ‘One called, one emailed, saying ‘we want her out,’’ he told The Post.”

Democrats say ‘brand is worse than Trump’ - NYT: “Among Democrats in Washington, the setback in Georgia revived or deepened a host of existing grievances about the party, accentuating tensions between moderate lawmakers and liberal activists and prompting some Democrats to question the leadership and political strategy of Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader. … Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, who tried to unseat Ms. Pelosi as House minority leader late last fall, said she remained a political millstone for Democrats. But Mr. Ryan said the Democratic brand had also become ‘toxic’ in much of the country because voters saw Democrats as ‘not being able to connect with the issues they care about.’”

The Humbling of the Democrats - “For months, Democrats have resisted the notion that they were the problem.  Despite a series of historic losses resulting in the party’s worst position in nearly a century, Democrats convinced themselves that their philosophy was shared by a majority of the country. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, after all. The left dominates popular culture. An electorate made up of minorities and single women and the Democratic dominance it will yield is just over the horizon. These myths sustained Democrats through the darkest early days of the Trump era, but they’ve since lost their luster. The party’s failure in Georgia on Tuesday has had a dramatic psychological effect. Democrats have been humbled. Now, finally, the party’s notables are starting to realize that it is them—not the country nor its voters—who have to change.” – Noah Rothman writing for Commentary Magazine.

Priebus keeps tight grip on the RNC - Politico

The U.S. says China needs to exert ‘much greater pressure’ on North Korea - Time

Softball brings Washington together again, for a night - NYT

“I think I'm worth the trouble, quite frankly.” – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in an answer to a reporter's question about the degree to which her continued leadership helps Republicans win elections. 

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Houston Chronicle: “One man found out the hard way that Batman is on the lookout in Fort Worth, after trying to steal a Batman movie from a Walmart on Sunday. … The officer [Damon Cole] said he dresses as superheroes for kid functions and was invited to Walmart as part of their child's safety fair. Cole said he followed the man to his car and identified himself as an off-duty police officer. When he tried to get the man to go back inside, Cole said the suspect denied having taken anything. The man eventually admitted to stealing four DVD's, including a copy of the Lego Batman movie. ‘I told him man, you can't steal my movie,’ Cole said. After getting a written citation for attempting to steal less than $100 worth of merchandise, the man asked to take a selfie with Cole. The officer complied, as long as the suspect promised to not steal in the future. ‘This was definitely a first,’ Cole said of busting a criminal while in costume.”

“I think the key here is what was in [Nancy Pelosi]'s message, ironically. She said we have to get our message out. They don't have a message. This is the same reason that Hillary lost.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.