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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

As the struggle to secure House votes for or against authorization for military strikes in Syria accelerates, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has started making plans to team up with isolationist conservatives to stop the resolution, TPM has learned.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has become the leader of the progressive resistance. He is planning an "ad hoc whip operation," as he called it in a phone interview with TPM. That includes supplying other aligned members with talking points and giving them the names of undecided colleagues to lobby for a no vote.

Grayson's office has also been in touch with staffs for Republicans who oppose military action against Syria, such as tea party favorite Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), about crafting an organized strategy for lobbying no votes.

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The main takeaway from an exhaustive new study of premiums on the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces: They're generally going to be lower than expected, undercutting the persistent claims of "rate shock" by conservatives.

Marketplaces premiums are coming in below initial estimates, said the nonprofit, nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation in a new report released Thursday.

The expected monthly premium for a 40-year-old adult purchasing a silver-level plan (the baseline, which covers 70 percent of costs) on a marketplace had been $320, according to previous projections from the Congressional Budget Office. But in 15 of the 18 regions studied by Kaiser, the average premium will be below that -- thus the study's conclusion that the prices are going to be lower than anticipated.

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There is increasing uncertainty about whether the Obama administration can muster the votes for authorization to launch air strikes in Syria, and two amendments co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain and approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday underline how complicated it will be to appease competing factions in Congress.

McCain said Wednesday morning that he would not support the revised Syria resolution proposed by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bob Corker (R-TN). Then after a four-hour private committee meeting that delayed the already scheduled committee business meeting, McCain introduced new language that would declare it U.S. policy to "change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria." It passed through the committee on a voice vote, and the committee later approved the resolution 10-7, with one present vote from Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).

McCain's addition doesn't quite say "regime change" -- and the White House has said that would not be the purpose of military action -- but it sounds a lot like regime change and describes a new government in Syria as the ultimate outcome. And with Congress already appearing uncomfortable voting for war, any language that seems to increase the likelihood of the United States getting entangled in a prolonged intervention is going to be met with skepticism.

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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Wednesday a revised authorization for military action in Syria, including new language effectively making regime change the goal of the intervention.

The resolution passed with 10 ayes, seven nays and one present. Republicans Bob Corker (TN), Jeff Flake (AZ) and John McCain (AZ) joined seven Democrats in approving the resolution. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) joined Republicans including Marco Rubio (FL) and Rand Paul (KY) in voting against the resolution. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) voted present.

The new resolution includes sure-to-controversial language, introduced by McCain, that the goal of U.S. military intervention is to "change the moment on the battlefield in Syria."

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted by voice vote Wednesday two amendments by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)  to the resolution authorizing military action in Syria that would make it the goal of the mission to "change the moment on the battlefield in Syria."

The two McCain amendments to that effect, co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), change the non-binding Statement of Policy in the resolution to say:

It is the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria so as to create favorable conditions for a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and leads to a democratic government in Syria.

The amendments point to degrading the Assad regime's chemical weapons capability and the arming of Syrian opposition as means of reversing the situation on the ground in Syria, where the Assad regime is generally considered to be winning.

The language appears to address McCain's concerns about the resolution that he voiced Wednesday morning when he said he would not support the resolution as it was then written. McCain has consistently said he supports further U.S. intervention in Syria to topple Assad.

The White House has repeatedly said that its goal with military intervention is not "regime change."

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Wednesday that media reports claiming he is planning to filibuster the resolution authorizing the use of force in Syria are a "misinterpretation."

Pressed about the reports by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting, Paul said: "That would be a misinterpretation from the media."

In a Thursday afternoon report, the New York Times quoted a Paul aide saying that the senator "will filibuster any effort to bring an authorization of military force to a quick vote in the Senate."

The revised resolution authorizing military action in Syria will be delayed a little longer after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began its business meeting Wednesday afternoon with no finalized resolution.

At the start of the hearing, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), whose staff is helping draft the resolution, said the committee was "semi-filibustering as we're waiting for language to be developed."

The odd pronouncement came after a chaotic morning for the new resolution. The mark-up was delayed nearly three hours as the committee met behind closed doors, attempting to hammer out new language.

The White House will hold a classified briefing Thursday at 2 p.m. for all members of Congress, a senior administration official told TPM.

Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken and other deputies will be conducting the briefing. No other details were immediately available.

The briefings are part of the White House's overall outreach plan to Congress. Democratic sources have said that they're expected to play a key role in persuading skeptical members.

"In every briefing, hearing, meeting and call we will make the same fundamental case: the failure to take action against Assad unravels the deterrent impact of the international norm against chemical weapons use, and it risks emboldening Assad and his key allies - Hezbollah and Iran - who will see that there are no consequences for such a flagrant violation of an international norm," the official said. "Anyone who is concerned about Iran and its efforts in the region should support this action."

An amendment from Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) to the Senate's proposed authorization in Syria would require the Obama administration to craft a plan to involve Israel and Turkey in regional security and provide humanitarian relief to Syrian refugees.

The amendment revises a section of the resolution that calls for the White House to submit an integrated strategy for U.S. policy in Syria no more than 30 days after the resolution is enacted. The Coons amendment adds new language requiring coordination with Israel, Jordan and Turkey in achieving security in the region; a plan for securing any existing chemical or biological weapons; and efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Syria, particularly the plight of 2 million refugees and 4.5 million internally displaced Syrians.

In yesterday's Senate Foreign Relations Committe hearing, Coons and others raised those questions to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The Coons amendment arrives after a turbulent committee meeting behind closed doors, which consumed the morning and delayed the expected mark-up of the resolution.

Other expected amendments include new language from Sen. John McCain that would call for U.S. military strikes to help reverse the situation on the ground in Syria, which the Assad regime is generally considered to be winning.

The mark-up is now scheduled for 2 p.m. ET Wednesday.

  Coons Amendment by tpmdocs

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