In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Even before Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch began to make the rounds to Capitol Offices on Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to win confirmation from the U.S. Senate, Democratic efforts to hold the line against him were underway.

Just after Gorsuch's nomination was announced Tuesday night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement that Democrats would demand 60 votes to confirm Gorsuch, a rare move on Supreme Court nominees and one that could set into motion the eradication of the filibuster for the Supreme Court.

Many Republicans on Wednesday chummily held the line that Gorsuch was so qualified that they weren't sure Democrats would object to him. But others were candid about what may transpire if Democrats really do stand in the way of Gorsuch.

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The head of the top trade group for health insurers confirmed Wednesday that the Trump administration had not explained what to expect from an executive order the President signed on the Affordable Care Act, which outsider experts have struggled to parse as well.

Testifying in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Marilyn Tavenner, the president and chief executive officer of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), told Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that insurers had not received any additional guidance from the administration about its plans for implementing the order.

"We do not have any details on the executive order," Tavenner said, after a line of questioning from Warren about whether the Trump administration has gone into more specifics.

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One of the central questions in the battle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that Republicans have been grappling with since the election is what to do with the law's taxes. Republicans have spent six years railing against those taxes, which could provide crucial revenue to finance a replacement plan.

“My view is this: After spending seven years talking about the harm being caused by these taxes, it’s difficult to switch gears now and decide that they’re fine so long as they’re being used to pay for our healthcare bill,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said Wednesday during an event at the Chamber of Commerce, according to the Hill. "All of the Obamacare taxes need to go as part of the repeal process.”

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During a Republican conference meeting Tuesday morning, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) tried to quell concerns within the conference that his staff had assisted President Donald Trump's administration with drafting an executive order on immigration that even Republican leaders did not know was coming.

Members and staff in the meeting said afterward that Goodlatte walked through the process and explained that he had had staff who served on the transition team when Trump became the nominee.

On Tuesday afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee released a statement praising the work of the staffers.

“My staff on the House Judiciary Committee are some of the best on Capitol Hill. They are experts in their respective fields and I proudly allowed them to provide their expertise to the Trump transition team on immigration law," Goodlatte said. "To be clear, while they gave advice to the new Administration, they did not have decision making authority on the policy. The final decision was made at the highest levels of the Trump Administration, and I support the President’s executive order."

Goodlatte's knowledge that his staff was involved opens up questions of whether the Chairman himself was aware of what was coming even as Republican leaders were in the dark. During his press conference, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tried to downplay what occurred.

"Congressional staffers help the administration all the time. I'll refer you to the Judiciary Committee on the specific aspects of this," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said.

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Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted the committee's Tuesday morning mark-up meeting, where members were expected to vote on President Trump's nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), and his nominee for Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin.

"I am really disappointed that my friends on the other side -- our Democrats on the other side are deliberately boycotting this mark up," Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said at the meeting. Because the committee is not at a quorum, Republicans cannot move forward in advancing the nominees.

"Why that's an important thing for them I'll never understand, because these two nominee are going to go through," Hatch said.

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When then-candidate Donald Trump was stirring controversy after controversy from the stump, GOP lawmakers, wary of his proposals, vowed that they would be a check on Trump's most troubling ideas.

Less than two weeks into his presidency, Republicans are facing a major test of that vow. A broad swath of congressional GOPers have come out against Trump's immigration executive order, which was an outgrowth of his proposed Muslim ban that Republicans roundly condemned during the campaign. What lawmakers will do to act on their concerns remains to be seen.

Here is a look at what some Republicans said when the immigration ban and other extreme Trump proposals were raised during the campaign.

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Turdukan Tostokova was putting the finishing touches on creating new homes in America for two sets of elderly Iraqi refugees scheduled to arrive tomorrow. She'd been planning for months for their arrival in Bismarck, North Dakota. She had their rent checks ready to hand over to landlords and was preparing the final details before their arrival.

“I was going to go buy beds today. I was going to buy food tomorrow morning. Everything was planned," Tostokova, a site supervisor for the refugee resettlement program at Lutheran Social Services, told TPM in an interview Monday afternoon.

Then came the President Donald Trump's executive order late Friday that halted the refugee program for 120 days and put a 90-day ban on immigration from seven majority Muslim countries including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Sudan and Libya. The effects of the ban are just beginning to be fully realized.

On Monday afternoon, Tostokova got the official word: The families she'd hope to be reuniting wouldn't get that opportunity.

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President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending the U.S. refugee program and barring immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations is unlikely to be defeated on religious discrimination grounds, constitutional law experts told TPM Monday.

While they said Trump’s order will have a disproportionately negative impact on Muslim refugees and immigrants, the experts argued the wording of the order, as well as the broad authority historically vested in the executive branch on immigration policy, renders it difficult to successfully argue that the order explicitly discriminates against Muslims.

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