David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

Enough House GOP moderates, laboring with the pre-existing condition know as weak spines, have mostly come over in the last 24 hours to appear to give Paul Ryan and Donald Trump the votes they need to pass Obamacare repeal and replace and send their monstrosity of a bill over to the Senate, where it will be dramatically reworked one way or the other.

No CBO score and, as of a few minutes ago, no final complete text for the bill. But a vote is expected this afternoon, and as of right now there doesn’t appear to be the kind of wobbling from House GOPers that would imperil the bill. We’ll bring you all the latest as it happens.

Here’s where we are. After weeks of false assurances, puffery, and salesmanship intended to give Obamacare repeal some legislative momentum when in fact there was none, the White House appears closer to securing the necessary votes than it has at any point since the bill was yanked in March. It’s not a done deal yet, and in truth, it’s difficult to trust any of the pronouncements by the interested parties after all the nonsense talk of the last few weeks. As of now, no vote has been scheduled, and the window for getting the vote done is narrow. The House is gone on recess from Friday through next week. A vote would have to be Thursday. That’s looking more likely than it has in weeks. Stay tuned.

The new wrinkle today in the House GOP’s desperate effort to round up enough votes to repeal Obamacare is another proposed amendment to the bill. It is designed to win over moderates but would actually do very little to move the dial on the key policy imperatives of the bill. It’s important to understand that because the tone and tenor of the political coverage will tend to downplay it. It’s much more fun to cover the will they or won’t they get the votes and the shuttle diplomacy up and down Pennsylvania Avenue than to grapple with the underlying policy implications of the bill.

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A new wrinkle in the two main stories happening right now on parallel tracks on the Hill: House Democrats this morning are threatening to bail on a deal to pass a short term spending resolution to avoid a government shutdown IF House Republicans proceed with a quick vote on the revised Obamacare repeal bill.

Why would Democrats want to keep the vote from happening right away?

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Senate Republicans returning to the Capitol this evening from recess don’t sound like they’re spoiling for a government shutdown over funding Trump’s border wall.

Not even close.

A rogues gallery of voting rights restrictionists is urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resume some of the hiring practices that politicized the George W. Bush Justice Department during some of the darkest days in the department’s history. For longtime readers, this will be more than a little alarming. Voting rights advocates are warning about where this could head.

Just to give you some of the flavor of the how bad things were at DOJ back then, here’s a 2007 TPMMuckraker account, 10 years ago this month, of a veteran DOJ official who left the department after he “lost faith in the institution as it had become.”

Medicaid expansion passed both houses in Kansas in recent days, even as the Republican Congress was trying to end Medicaid as we know it, but Gov. Sam Brownback (R) vetoed the legislation this morning. Among his reasons:

Most grievously, this legislation funnels more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. From its infancy, the state of Kansas has affirmed the dignity and equality of each human life. I will not support this legislation that continues to fund organizations that undermine a culture of life.

More soon.

The Senate Intelligence Committee examination of Russian interference in the 2016 election may turn out to be the seminal investigation of the Trump presidency. This afternoon’s press conference by the chair and ranking member put Trump himself squarely in the crosshairs and, in stark contrast to the circus on the House side, suggested a seriousness of purpose that the Trump White House won’t be able to parry with bombast and misdirection. No congressional committee investigation is perfect or pure, but clearly the Senate probe is where the action will be. Here’s what we learned.

How far will the Trump administration go to undermine Obamacare administratively after the repeal-and-replace debacle? HHS Secretary Tom Price was sending some pretty strong signals in a hearing on Capitol Hill today.