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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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Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) accused leading Democrats, including President Obama, of making up the number of people insured under Obamacare.

"It’s interesting the numbers because the president uses one number. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi came out with a much higher number. I think they're making them up," Barrasso told reporters Wednesday on Capitol Hill when asked about whether the GOP plans to maintain Obamacare's coverage levels. "We've done a lot of research into what the numbers truly are."

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) fired back at Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for his vow that Democrats will fight to keep the Supreme Court vacancy open if President-elect Donald Trump selects a nominee from out of the mainstream.

At a press conference Wednesday, McConnell mocked Schumer for expanding what Republicans labeled the "Biden rule'"-- referring to a 1992 speech given by then Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) discouraging the appointment of a Supreme Court nominee close to an election -- while arguing that "the American people simply will not tolerate" Democratic efforts to obstruct Trump's eventual nominee.

Last year, McConnell led a Republican blockade against even considering Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia's seat, securing the vacancy for Trump.

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The Committee for a Responsible Budget, a deficit hawk group that advocates for cuts to social benefits programs, outlined the costs of dismantling the Affordable Care Act in a new report, finding that a full Obamacare repeal would cost the government $350 billion over 10 years.

The shot across the bow from deficit hawks adds further political complications to Obamacare repeal for Republicans, who already face a possible meltdown in the insurance markets and the loss of insurance by potentially millions of Americans, depending on how and when they replace Obamacare.

The report, released Wednesday, broke down the costs and savings of repealing various parts of the law, as well as the effect delaying the repeal would have on the deficit.

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Republicans in Congress kicked off their new session by taking the first steps toward repealing Obamacare.

The moves were mostly procedural and more-or-less expected, but they nonetheless signaled that GOP lawmakers intended to follow through on their promises last year to make dismantling the Affordable Care Act priority No. 1.

The first move, in the House, was the introduction of new chamber rules before Christmas and approved by the full body Tuesday, that included a special glide path for their Obamacare efforts. The second was a budget resolution introduced by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) Tuesday to jump-start the budgetary maneuver known as reconciliation, by which Republicans will be able to avoid a Democratic filibuster in the upper chamber.

Together the two moves reflect the complicated procedural path Republicans will have to navigate to get a repeal bill to the White House

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) hates Obamacare so much that he doesn't even want the Supreme Court to cite its own major Obamacare cases in future opinions, according to a bill he introduced Tuesday.

The bill itself list the names of major lawsuits the Affordable Care Act has faced at the Supreme Court and bars them "from citation for the purpose of precedence in all future cases."

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Chief Justice John Roberts requested on Tuesday that a response be filed to an emergency request by North Carolina late last month that the 2017 special elections ordered by a federal court be put off as the case that prompted them -- a major racial gerrymandering lawsuit -- is appealed.

The move Tuesday was a fairly minor procedural move by Roberts, who oversees the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals where North Carolina resides, but the emergency request suggests an attempt to put off special elections where Republicans risk losing seats with the redrawn districts. The state officials' legal moves are also part of a series of last-ditch efforts by North Carolina Republicans to undermine incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

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A judge blocked a recently-passed North Carolina law that remade its elections board system from taking effect while a lawsuit filed Friday by the Governor-elect Roy Cooper (D-NC) challenging the law proceeds, the News and Observer reported.

After a one-hearing Friday on Cooper's emergency request to pause the law's implementation, Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens issued an order delaying the law—which was set to be implemented on Sunday—from taking effect at least until next Thursday, when another hearing on the lawsuit has been scheduled, according to the News and Observer.

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President Obama will meet with congressional Democrats on Capitol Hill Wednesday to discuss their strategy to shield the Affordable Care Act from GOP repeal efforts, Politico reported Friday. Both House and Senate Democrats will huddle with Obama at Congressional Visitors Center auditorium at 9 a.m. that morning per a memo sent out to members, according to Politico.

Republicans have made clear that dismantling Obamacare will be on the top of their agenda when the new Congress convenes next week. They have signaled that they plan to use reconciliation—a procedural maneuver that requires only a majority vote in the Senate and thus thwarts a Democratic filibuster—though there have been disagreements among the GOP caucus as to what the repeal bill will look like.

President-elect Donald Trump issued a terse statement Thursday, presumably in response to new actions taken by the Obama administration against Russia for cyberattacks during the presidential campaign.

"It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things," the statement read. "Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation."

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A divided federal appeals court panel on Thursday greenlit the next steps in considering an effort launched by outside Obamacare defenders to intervene in an lawsuit targeting a provision of the Affordable Care Act.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order requesting that the dueling parties in the lawsuit, the Obama administration and the House GOP, file responses to a request from two Obamacare enrollees to intervene in the case, House v. Burwell. The move suggests that the court is likely to make a decision as to whether the Obamacare enrollees may take over the defense of the law if the Justice Department backs down from its appeal of the case under Donald Trump. House Republicans had previously asked the court to reject the enrollees' request to consider their intervention.

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