Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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Wheaton College has taken its battle over Obamacare's birth control mandate from the courtroom to its campus.

The evangelical college in Illinois told its students last week that it would be ending the health insurance plans it had been offering them due to its case against Obama administration, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The school terminated its plan not due to the fact that it was being forced to pay for contraceptive coverage -- it is not -- but that it is in a legal battle over whether it should even have to notify the government that it is seeking a religious exemption to providing contraceptive coverage. The current policy for religious non-profits gives them an exemption, at which point the government directs insurers to provide birth control coverage through a separate policy not paid for by the non-profit.

Wheaton contends that even the act of notifying the government of its religious opposition to birth control coverage makes it complicit in providing birth control. A federal appeals court has rejected Wheaton's contention, so rather than comply with the requirement that it notify the feds, Wheaton is ending all health coverage for students.

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Since the implementation of Obamacare picked up in the fall of 2013, Americans are reporting better health and easier access to doctors, a new study found. But minority Americans as well as lower-income Americans reported even greater gains.

“The reduction in the uninsured rate among Latino adults was greater than the reduction among white adults,” the study noted, with Latinos reporting a reduction at 11.9 percent compared to 6.1 percent reduction among non-Latino whites. Likewise, non-Latino blacks saw a greater drop in the uninsured rate than whites, reporting a 10.9 percent reduction. In the areas of access to doctors and medicine, Latinos and blacks also made greater gains than their white counterparts.

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Sen. Ted Cruz may be trailing Donald Trump in the 2016 polls. But at least on Capitol Hill the firebrand from Texas is top contender for Republican troll-in-chief. Cruz’s scorching floor speech Friday calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a liar and the Sunday Senate shenanigans that followed are the only latest chapter in a series of public beefs with Republican leadership the Texas senator has had since taking office in 2013. Here’s a look back at the previous times the conservative troublemaker has ruffled the feathers of his fellow GOPers:

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Planned Parenthood confirmed Monday that its internal systems were the target of a cyber attack, hours after reports that hackers had gained access to the organization's internal databases and employee records. Planned Parenthood said that it was targeted by abortion "extremists" and had asked federal law enforcement to investigate the breach.

"Today Planned Parenthood has notified the Department of Justice and separately the FBI that extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood's mission and services have launched an attack on our information systems, and have called on the world's most sophisticated hackers to assist them in breaching our systems and threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members," Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. "We are working with top leaders in this field to manage these attacks. We treat matters of safety and security with the utmost importance, and are taking every measure possible to mitigate these criminal efforts to undermine our mission and services."

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The stage was set for fireworks this weekend during the rare Sunday Senate session that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called to push forward a major transportation funding bill, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) did not disappoint. The underlying must-pass bill, which finances federal construction programs on the nation's roads, has become the focus of proxy battles on everything from Planned Parenthood to the Export-Import Bank. Sunday, however, Senate Republicans lined up behind McConnell to shut down Cruz's attempts to wreak havoc on the legislation.

Here is what happened Sunday:

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Senate GOP leadership is moving toward a vote on a bill that would cease federal funding to Planned Parenthood due to concerns about the reproductive health provider raised by heavily-edited videos recently posted online by an anti-abortion group.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) placed the bill, sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), on the Senate calendar as anti-abortion lawmakers had been accusing leadership of blocking a vote on the issue. No date yet has been scheduled for a vote.

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Senate Republicans will finally take a shot at their great white whale, but their first vote to repeal Obamacare since taking over the Senate majority in January will come as an amendment to a highway bill and be held on a Sunday in late July. It's not exactly the headline-making confrontation with the President over his signature legislation that conservatives have been hankering for.

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Americans view the GOP less favorably now than they did at the beginning of the year, when Republicans took control of both houses of Congress.

A new Pew poll finds that favorability among Americans for Republicans is at 32 percent - which is 9 percentage points less than in January - while 60 percent of the survey-takers said they viewed the GOP unfavorably now. Perceptions of Democrats, meanwhile, have remained split.

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Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) can at least count on Republicans in the state House of Representatives, where they are the minority party, to back him in a pending court battle over an apparently botched veto attempt. But GOP state representatives will have to dig into their pockets to cover the legal costs.

House Republicans are using private funding to file briefs in LePage's favor as the state Supreme Court decides whether the governor correctly vetoed dozens of bills, The Bangor Daily News reported. Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves and Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau denied House Minority Leader Ken Fredette's request to use public money to underwrite the associated legal costs.

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