In it, but not of it. TPM DC

If President Donald Trump is ultimately unable to implement an executive order temporarily banning immigrants from six majority-Muslim nations and refugees, he will have his own words to blame.

Two federal judges who on Wednesday blocked a newer, narrower version of the administration's travel ban hours before it was to take effect cited past comments made by Trump and his close allies to claim that the order was primarily motivated by religious bias. And in his response to this block, Trump may have provided even more ammunition to appeals judges questioning his motives.

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Many Republicans are speaking out against President Donald Trump's proposal to gut the budget of the State Department by 28 percent. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is not one of them.

"I don't have any concerns with the cuts to the State Department," he told reporters Thursday. "As I understand it they had teams all over the world that were paid lavish amounts of money, and they weren't promoting America, they were promoting the LGBT agenda. That's not the State Department's role."

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) washed his hands of concerns that the direction he's taking Republicans' Obamacare repeal bill in the House will make it dead-on-arrival in the Senate.

"My job is to move bills through the House,” Ryan said at his weekly press conference Thursday, while noting the feedback from House members leadership is receiving through the process.

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Alice Ollstein contributed reporting.

Moderate Republicans are warning that changes to the GOP health care bill made to assuage conservatives could risk a revolt from the the party's other wing. Of particular concern, especially to rank-and-file members from Medicaid expansion states, is the push from the hard right to phase out the expanded program even sooner than planned.

"I'm totally against that. There's no way I'm voting for that. I'm undecided now, but that would make me a definite no," Rep. Peter King (R-NY), told reporters after a GOP House conference meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The Republican health care bill currently freezes Medicaid expansion enrollment at the beginning of 2020. Conservatives, including those in the hardline Freedom Caucus and much larger Republican Study Committee, are lobbying for that date to be moved up to 2018.

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The fights over how Republicans’ Obamacare repeal legislation changes or eliminates ACA-related provisions have made the loudest noise as the legislation has moved forward on Capitol Hill. But its biggest provision -- both in terms of budgetary impact and long-term effect on the health care system -- is its overhaul of Medicaid, a transformation that Republicans have sought long before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010.

Given the legislative limits GOP lawmakers face in fully repealing Obamacare and the struggles they’re having landing on a consensus ACA alternative, one could argue that the Obamacare repeal push is actually a trojan horse for the much more sweeping conversion of Medicaid, from an unlimited match rate into a system where federal funding will be limited on a per-enrollee-basis. Republicans are under immense political pressure, after years of campaign promises, to dismantle the ACA. But rather than tackle the 2010 bill on its own, they've used repealing it as a vehicle to attempt what they've wanted to do to Medicaid all along.

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Updated at 9:58 a.m. ET

The budget blueprint President Donald Trump released Thursday will slash more than a quarter of the budget of both the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, deeply cut the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and completely defund the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds National Public Radio and PBS. More cuts are proposed for public education, agriculture, public transportation, and food assistance for the poor.

The Trump cuts will help fund a proposed 10 percent increase in the Pentagon's budget consisting of tens of billions of dollars, and a 6 percent increase in the budget of the Department Homeland Security, including $1.7 billion dollars to begin building Trump's new wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump's budget blueprint, titled "America First: A Budget to Make America Great Again," faces many legal and political obstacles on its way to implementation, but the opening salvo suggests a new era of harsh austerity for nearly every sector of government outside of the military.

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Dozens of conservative lawmakers in the House's Republican Study Committee huddled behind closed doors in the basement of the Capitol Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss their imperiled Obamacare repeal bill—which has been lambasted by moderates and conservatives alike.

When the lawmakers emerged, they expressed confidence that the White House supports the changes they are demanding: freezing the Medicaid expansion in 2018 instead of 2020, and imposing a work requirement on low-income Americans receiving Medicaid.

"Ultimately, we were told today that we should be hopeful as far as having some of this incorporated into the bill," RSC chairman Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) (pictured) told reporters. "We're as hopeful as we've ever been."

Even as hardline conservatives, moderate Republicans, and Trump loyalists continue to come out against the bill, Walker said the changes to its Medicaid provisions would bring his 170-member group on board. The RSC includes many of the the most conservative Republicans in the House.

"The RSC in general is very close to signing off," he said. "Our ultimate goal is a unanimous vote of support."

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The legislation Republican leaders are pitching as their replacement to Obamacare does little to fix a problem in the individual insurance market that has been a major GOP talking against the Affordable Care Act -- and the Republican-proposed alternative may even make the problem worse, health policy experts told TPM.

The prevalence of counties having only one or two insurers has been a constant criticism Republicans -- fairly or or not -- lobbed against Affordable Care Act and they haven’t stopped now, as GOP leaders beg rank-and-file members to support their controversial repeal legislation, the American Health Care Act.

The shrinking presence of insurers in certain parts of the country -- and particularly in rural regions -- is a major problem. But the structural issues pushing them out are largely untouched by the Republican legislation. On top of that, the way a key element of the bill, its tax credits, is structured exacerbates the dynamics. The few provisions GOPers can highlight in the legislation that could make insurance cheaper could have the opposite effect in rural areas, health care policy experts tell TPM.

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is openly frustrated with the Trump administration dragging its feet on fully briefing Congress on its various Russia investigations.

This week, he put his foot down, refusing to move forward on the backlog of confirmation votes before his committee until FBI Director James Comey tells the committee what is going on.

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Tucked into the GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is a multi-pronged effort to limit women's access to reproductive health services, including contraception, abortion, and maternity care. The bill bans women from using government tax credits to purchase any private insurance plan that covers abortion, discourages employers from offering insurance that covers abortion, and cuts more than $200 million dollars from Planned Parenthood over 10 years.

The result of that final provision, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office, would be "several thousand" more unwanted pregnancies, which would in turn cost the government $77 million more in Medicaid spending over the next decade.

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