In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The American Hospital Association on Friday aired concerns that Republicans in the House may not make enough sufficient changes to the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare to earn the group's support and called on GOP leaders to reset their approach.

Rick Pollack, the President and CEO of the AHA, said at a press conference that Republicans need to "press the reset button and reboot" their legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He outlined the three major issues that the hospitals group has with the House bill: a reduction in those insured, cuts to Medicaid funding and the repeal of taxes that helped fund the coverage provided by Obamacare.

"We cannot support the bill in its present form," Pollack said.

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Republican leaders gathered Friday morning with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price to assure the press and the public that despite reports of defections, divisions, and disagreements in the party, the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act is advancing smoothly.

"Republicans are united," Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rogers (R-WA) insisted even as more lawmakers and Republican governors come out against the legislation.

At the Friday press conference, the GOP leaders and Health Secretary continued to push an argument that emerged over the course of this week as the bill has become mired in criticism—particularly after the Congressional Budget Office reported that the bill would trigger massive insurance coverage losses. The legislation shouldn't be judged in isolation, they said, because it's part of a "three-phase process."

"This plan is in three phases," Price told reporters. "The reconciliation bill, the kinds of things we're able to do at the Department, and more legislation with an overall plan to move us in the direction of patient-centered health care."

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At this point, the leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, the U.S. attorney general, and the speaker of the House have all said they've seen no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claim that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower during the presidential election. The FBI director even reportedly asked the Justice Department to refute that accusation earlier this month.

Trump himself now allows that former President Barack Obama may not have personally ordered a tap on the phones at Trump's Manhattan campaign headquarters, though he continues to allege that someone, somewhere was surveilling him.

Determining a culprit is an increasingly lonely effort. Initially, a number of Republican lawmakers went out on a limb to defend Trump, saying his wiretapping allegations may well have merit. But after congressional intelligence committees investigating the matter came up empty-handed, Trump's allies went silent or walked their remarks back, leaving senior White House staffers and diehard pro-Trump pundits hanging.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer spent much of his Thursday briefing filibustering reporters who tried to get him to reconcile Trump's wild allegations with congressional leaders' insistence that they'd seen no evidence to support them. For about seven minutes, Spicer read directly from media reports that he said supported the President’s claims, concluding that “putting the published accounts and common sense together, this leads to a lot.”

Both Spicer and Trump insist that the President will be “vindicated” in the next two weeks as presumably classified, previously unreleased information proving him right trickles out.

Below is a list of Trump allies, lawmakers and pundits who've defended the increasingly untenable wiretapping allegations, in descending order of intensity.

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The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities have long been ripe targets for conservatives looking to trim fat from the federal budget, but President Donald Trump's newly released blueprint proposes eliminating them entirely—and arts and humanities advocates are already gearing up for a fight.

Advocates feel they have a good chance of lobbying Congress to save funding for the endowments, which they say fund programs that offer crucial support to the public education system, help veterans readjust to civilian life and bring arts and culture to small communities.

“What we have here is an attack upon global citizenship and national civic culture," Jim Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, told TPM of the potential elimination of the NEH.

Dianne Harris, the dean of the University of Utah's College of Humanities and a member of the National Humanities Alliance board of directors, concurred that nixing the NEH would be "devastating for our country."

Advocates were particularly concerned that because the small grants issued by the NEA and NEH attract additional fundraising from private sources, the federal government would be nixing a cost-effective investment in the arts and humanities by eliminating the endowments. They warned that rural and poor communities would be hit hardest because those areas have fewer sources of private funding to fill the endowments' void.

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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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