TPM News

House Republican leaders are hoping to vote next week, before the August recess, on a package to address the humanitarian crisis on the southern border.

The conference met on Friday morning to discuss a path forward and, according to a GOP leadership aide, is closing in on a proposal to provide less than $1 billion in funding and amend a 2008 anti-trafficking law that prohibits U.S. officials from swiftly sending back minors at the border who are coming from countries other than Mexico and Canada.

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The tax subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to pay for health insurance are, of course, the subject of significant press coverage since dueling federal appeals courts came to different conclusions about who receives them this week. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held, in a 2-1 decision called Harbig v. Burwell, that an Internal Revenue Service regulation extending the tax subsidies to taxpayers who purchase insurance from the federally-operated exchange (which covers 36 states) violated the plain language of the ACA. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals came to the opposite conclusion. The U.S. Department of Justice is likely to seek full court review (called “en banc review”) of the D.C. Circuit case, which may well reverse the 3 judge panel that struck the IRS regulation down. And the issue could ultimately end up in the Supreme Court.

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An online video has surfaced in which MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, one of the top outside experts consulted during Obamacare's drafting, appears to endorse the view advanced by conservatives that the law's tax credits would not be available for people using HealthCare.gov.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, published the video on Thursday evening. The organization said it was shot at a January 2012 event hosted by Noblis, a non-profit research group, at which Gruber spoke.

During a Q&A session, Gruber was asked in the video about Obamacare's health insurance exchanges. He said he thought the federal government "wants to squeeze the states" to set up their own exchanges by being slow to develop the federal website, which would be the back-stop for any state that didn't establish one. He then moved onto the tax-credit issue.

"What’s important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits. But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill," he said in the video. "So you’re essentially saying to your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that's a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges and that they'll do it. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this."

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