TPM News

Mitt Romney on Tuesday night sat down to a nice dinner with Donald Trump and Reince Preibus, emerging from the meal to praise Trump's transition efforts and say that he has "increasing hope" that Trump will lead the United States to a "better future."

Romney, who is reportedly under consideration to be secretary of state, dined with Trump and Priebus at Jean Georges, a restaurant inside the Trump International Hotel, where the trio noshed on young garlic soup with frog legs, scallops, steak, and lamb chops, according to the president-elect pool report.

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The gravity of how difficult it will be to fully repeal and replace Obamacare is settling in on Capitol Hill.

Republican senators who spent years railing against the president's signature health care law are now trying to find consensus on how they want to make good on their years-long campaign promise to dismantle it – and the growing consensus is that it is going to take time to find a replacement.

"Its gonna take us awhile to make that transition from the repeal to actually replacing it with more affordable health coverage, which provides people better access," Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the Senate majority whip, told reporters Tuesday. "There is a lot to do so it's not going to happen overnight."

Republicans' inability to coalesce around a replacement plan in the six years after Obamacare was passed means they have no easy alternative to queue up with a repeal, which they have vowed to make the top of their agenda next year. Their current inability to settle on a clear repeal and replace plan also reflects the trade-offs that have been dogging the GOP in last half-decade. Within the Republican caucus are deep, philosophical rifts over basic questions about health care policy and the government's role in providing access to coverage.

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Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he welcomed a fight with Republicans over their attempts to privatize Medicare and signaled Democrats' plans to make it a major issue in confirmation hearings for Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of health and human services.

"Between this nomination, an avowed Medicare opponent, and Republicans here in Washington threatening to privatize Medicare, it's clear that Washington Republicans are plotting a war on seniors next year," Schumer said at a press conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill. "Every senior in America should hear this loudly and clearly: Democrats will not let them win that fight."

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Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) told reporters Tuesday that Republicans are eyeing a "partial repeal" of Obamacare and plan to keep some of the law's elements intact.

"It's a partial repeal first of all, it's not a total repeal," Perdue said. "Let's get that out of the way. It's a partial repeal, and I think there are pieces of it in there that have to stay in place for awhile and that is what we are going to be working on."

When asked which parts of the law, specifically, would stay, Perdue said "we'll get into the specifics of it in the next few days."

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The North Carolina state elections board on Monday directed county election boards to dismiss any ballot protests that questioned a voter's eligibility, effectively tossing most protests filed by Republicans.

The ruling is a blow to Gov. Pat McCrory, who has seized on a flurry of ballot protests filed by Republicans to decry widespread voter fraud as he refuses to concede to his Democratic challenger, state Attorney General Roy Cooper. McCrory is currently trailing Cooper by about 9,800 votes, according to the board of elections website, although ten counties still have not certified their vote totals.

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