In it, but not of it. TPM DC

After years of rallies in the cold, votes on bills that were going nowhere, and committee witch hunts and candidate pledges, the anti-abortion movement is on the verge of securing a major victory, even if it's one that's making some Republicans uncomfortable. There’s a reason that anti-abortion groups fought so hard for a provision defunding Planned Parenthood be included in a doomed 2015 Obamacare repeal bill. And it’s the moment they find themselves in now.

While even the earliest steps to push the larger legislation through again has been subject to all sorts of squabbles, a top anti-abortion group says that they are “really confident” that this time, a measure to block Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood will become law.

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After publicly airing some of their grievances with the GOP's current strategy of repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan, a handful of Republican senators put their concerns in legislative writing. Five senators on Monday evening introduced a measure that would delay the next steps on repealing the Affordable Care Act by more than a month. The senators, in their statements accompanying the provision, said the delay would buy Congress more time to work out of the the details of a replacement.

"This amendment will ensure that we move forward with a smart, responsible plan to replace the law as quickly as possible,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) in a statement announcing the measure. He was joined by Bob Corker (R-TN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Cassidy (R-LA.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in introducing the proposal.

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Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), one of the Republicans who has been skeptical of the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, elaborated on his concerns Monday evening, pointing specifically to how lawmakers will fund its replacement if the Obamacare taxes are repealed right away.

"It just seems to me that probably you’re better off working this all out together," Corker said. "That may not end up being the case and that of course would take some Democratic cooperation, but I think people are beginning to realize that throwing $116 billion dollars in a mud puddle is a pretty big deal."

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Wednesday is shaping up to be a blockbuster day in political news, with Senate confirmation hearings scheduled for six of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees in addition to the President-elect holding his first press conference since July in midtown Manhattan.

That stacked schedule has some senior Democrats crying foul. They argue that, with the attention of the public and the political press divided between cities and hearings, Republicans will have an easier time forcing through some of the President-elect’s more controversial appointees.

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Lost in the public outcry over an ultimately failed proposal to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, House Republicans this week approved the reinstatement of an esoteric rule that could have a deeply chilling effect on the federal workforce.

The Holman Rule, passed Tuesday as part of the broader rules package for the 115th Congress, allows individual lawmakers to propose amendments to appropriations bills that request the termination of any government program or the reduction of the annual salary of individual federal employees to as low as $1.

A majority of the House and Senate would still need to approve any such amendment, but the lawmaker behind the resuscitation of the arcane rule said he fully expects it to be put to use.

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