In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The chairman of a group of House conservatives known for causing GOP leadership problems is already resisting Obamacare replacement proposals surfaced in leaked Republican draft legislation.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who heads the House Freedom Caucus, told CNN Monday he would vote against a bill that looked like the leaked draft, and that other conservatives had similar concerns about the proposals' tax credits for individual insurance as well as its tax on the most generous employer-based plans.

"What is conservative about a new entitlement program and a new tax increase? And should that be the first thing that the President signs of significance that we sent to the new President?" Meadows said "A new Republican president signs a new entitlement and a new tax increase as his first major piece of legislation? I don't know how you support that -- do you?"

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For the last six years, the Justice Department has sided with the citizens and civil rights groups fighting Texas' voter ID law, which a federal judge at one point found to be intentionally discriminatory against black and Latino voters. But its position changed Monday when the department decided to drop its claim that Republican state lawmakers enacted the law to make it harder for minorities to vote.

"This signals to voters that they will not be protected under this administration," said Danielle Lang, the deputy director of voting rights at the Campaign Legal Center, which is challenging Texas' law in court.

The reversal, on the eve of a key hearing in the case, is a clear sign of the DOJ's direction under Attorney General Jeff Sessions—a longtime advocate of voter ID laws and other voting restrictions. The department signaled its intentions last week when it joined with the state of Texas to ask the court to hold off on judging the constitutionality of the law until Republican lawmakers can modify it. The court rejected this request.

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President Donald Trump told a bipartisan group of governors at a White House reception Monday morning that GOP tax reform would have to wait for lawmakers to move on repealing Obamacare, cautioning that, "Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated."

"I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject," Trump said.

For health policy experts and Democrats who spent the last eight years overhauling the nation's health care system in the face of GOP intransigence, Trump's admission that health care is hard dripped with irony. Republicans, in the mean time, voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but made little progress on settling on what their replacement would look like, a conundrum that is haunting them now.

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND—When President Donald Trump took the stage Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he was greeted with cheers, chants of "USA," and dozens of Russian flags.

Two young, progressive activists from DC, Jason Charter and Ryan Clayton with the group Americans Take Action, purchased tickets to the conference, and handed out nearly 1,000 flags to attendees as a prank. After they were thrown out of the conference, they told TPM they wanted to "shed light on an important issue"—namely, the drip of revelations of backchannel communications between the Russian government and the Trump campaign—and allow people to "get a laugh out of their day."

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NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND–In 2016, Donald Trump canceled his planned speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference amid rumblings of an audience walkout. Several speakers used their time slots that year to bash Trump, and the crowd vigorously booed each mention of his name.

A year later, a newly inaugurated President Trump and his staffers, advisers, cabinet members, and allies dominated the event.

“By tomorrow, this will be TPAC,” joked White House counselor Kellyanne Conway as she sang her boss’ praises to thousands of attendees.

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Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) on Thursday warned that some congressional Republicans may no longer have the guts to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act after facing pressure from constituents at town halls this week.

Brooks said on WBHP's "The Morning Show with Toni & Gary," first flagged by CNN, that he believes "a significant number" of his colleagues "are being impacted by these kinds of protests and their spine is a little bit weak."

"And I don't know if we're going to be able to repeal Obamacare now because these folks who support Obamacare are very active, they're putting pressure on congressmen and there's not a counter-effort to steel the spine of some of these congressmen in tossup districts around the country," he said.

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As the week comes to a close, Republican lawmakers home in their districts continued to face pointed questions from constituents about President Donald Trump and the Affordable Care Act.

Those who did face the public in town halls were met with jeers and pressure to be a check on Trump. Two Republican members of Congress were asked about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Some lawmakers avoided the public by either canceling planned events or refusing to engage with protesters.

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Back home in their districts while Congress is in recess, some Republicans have ducked the raucous crowds at town halls in favor of more tightly controlled conference calls and private events. But even those who stuck to closed-door events, facilitating a friendlier crowd, haven't managed to escape the tough questions and protests that earned their colleagues so many headlines.

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