In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Congressional Republicans are inching closer to cementing an approach to dismantling the Affordable Care Act that reportedly will include some replacement measures in the repeal legislation. The effort marks a victory for the GOP lawmakers who lobbied against repealing the law without a replacement, but it’s by no means the end of the intra-party battles. The ability of the replacement measures to work will depend on how much money GOP lawmakers are willing spend on them, health care policy experts tell TPM, and that there will almost certainly be more fights to come.

“The tension between conservatives who want to spend less and moderates who are willing to maintain federal spending on health care to keep people covered will become very clear, sooner rather than later,” Larry Levitt, vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told TPM. “The previous repeal-and-delay approach kind of deferred the big fights over money, but this approach would bring those fights on almost immediately.”

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Sebastian Gorka never became a household name among the counterterrorism experts who populate K Street think tanks and university international relations departments during his years in Washington, D.C. Now he is President Donald Trump’s deputy assistant.

While Gorka, a former Breitbart News national security editor and fixture on Fox News, published the New York Times bestseller “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War,” held various positions at military educational institutions and even testified before the House Armed Services Committee on the threat of “global jihadism,” he was little-known in mainstream D.C. circles before the 2016 election year.

Some foreign policy and counterterrorism experts declined to speak to TPM on the record because of Gorka’s position in the new administration. But others characterized him as a peripheral figure whose hardline ideas about Islam and the threat posed by the Islamic State terror group place him firmly outside the mainstream.

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What the heck happened on the Senate floor last night?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was on the floor Tuesday night speaking out against the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be the next attorney general. Democrats have spent the last few nights on the floor railing against Trump's nominees. Warren was reading from a 1986 Coretta Scott King letter that criticized Sessions' record on civil rights.

Then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to Warren's reading of the letter, sending into motion the deployment of a rarely-used Senate rule that blocks lawmakers from speaking ill of colleagues.

The Senate voted along party lines to rebuke Warren for her remarks, effectively silencing her.

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A procedural scuffle between Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brought back to the forefront accusations that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), President Trump’s attorney general nominee, sought to prosecute voter outreach efforts in black counties in Alabama earlier in his career.

The episode during Sessions' time as a U.S. attorney was among the concerns that sunk Sessions’ nominations to a federal judgeship in the mid-1980s, and it was brought up again by Democrats during Sessions’ attorney general confirmation process. Tuesday evening, Warren attempted to read from the Senate floor a letter from the late Coretta Scott King, a civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King, Jr., in which she accused Sessions of using “the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.”

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Tierney Sneed and Caitlin MacNeal contributed to this report.

Their slogan is "repeal and replace," but as Republicans debate their vision for an Obamacare alternative, they are beginning to see that options are limited, the politics are fraught and the clock is already ticking into President Donald Trump's first 100 days.

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Judging by the first round of legislation and reported regulations being mulled by Republicans, GOP lawmakers intend to focus on meeting requests by insurers to keep the individual market stable as they move forward with repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on health held hearings on four pieces of legislation, three of which involving tweaks to Obamacare insurers have long recommended. (The fourth bill was a GOP promise to protect the coverage of those with pre-existing conditions, though the mechanism to do so was unclear). Meanwhile, the Health and Human Services Department under President Trump is reportedly weighing regulatory changes to Obamacare that would achieve similar goals.

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