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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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A secret CIA report found that Russian actors sought to boost Donald Trump in the election, and the report was presented to White House officials and Congressional leaders, according to a Washington Post report. Before the election, the White House weighed taking more aggressive actions to address the possible interference, the Washington Post said, but failed to get bipartisan support from lawmakers. Specifically, according to the Post, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed skepticism when briefed on the intelligence surrounding the hacks, and said that he considered going public with the concerns about Russian interference an act of partisan politics.

The Trump transition team brushed off the report, and said it was "time to move on" in a statement late Friday.

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A key House Republican on the issue of Social Security introduced a bill Thursday that would impose major cuts to the program. The bill, the Social Security Reform Act of 2016, was introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), the chair of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security.

It would, among other things, gradually raise the retirement age from 67 to 69 on Americans 49 or younger at the present. It would change the formula that determines the size of a retiree's initial payments. And it would switch the program to a less generous formula for raising payments according to cost of living increases.

Big picture, the most concerning element for many experts is that its approach to make the program more solvent rest entirely on cuts, and does not raise revenues for the Social Security Trust Fund, as some bipartisan proposals have. Across the political spectrum, solutions for long term solvency range from cuts-only approaches like Johnson's bill to plans that achieve 75-year solvency by raising the current income cap on social security taxes.

"Ultimately, we are going to need something that's a little more balanced between benefits saving and revenue changes in order to get a proposal that could pass Congress and get approved by the president," said Shai Akabas, director fiscal policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

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Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement — which health care policy experts predict could cost 30 million people their health insurance — will also bring a major tax break for high-income Americans.

Two taxes that will be presumably axed with the law affect only those making $200,000 or more. The break the ACA repeal will bring to those taxpayers will amount to a $346 billion tax cut in total over 10 years, according to the CBO report on the 2015 repeal legislation GOP lawmakers say they’ll be using as their model next year.

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Members of the House progressive caucus on Thursday railed against President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet picks. Caucus co-chair Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is also running for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, described the Trump nominees as "representing a very disturbing trend."

"With only a few exceptions, the individuals that President-elect Trump has appointed is the greatest collection of stooges and cronies and misfits we have ever seen in a presidential administration," Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) said at a press conference hosted by a handful of the caucus' members.

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Additional reporting by Lauren Fox

Congressional Republicans didn’t want to help insurers when the health care market was transitioning into Obamacare. Now they’ll have to decide how much they’ll be willing to help insurers as they plan the country’s transition out of the Affordable Care Act, which GOP leaders say will be repealed as soon as they convene a new Congress.

With the GOP planning to repeal Obamacare with a two- or three-year delay so they can work on a replacement, a key question is what kind of life rafts they can throw to insurers, who will have no incentive to stay in the ACA individual exchanges carriers know are doomed. Among the proposals insurers are asking Congress to consider are the very programs that Republicans spent six years railing against—and in some cases obstructing legislatively—as “taxpayer funded bailouts.”

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A major trade group for insurers took the unusual step of going public with what it is demanding of Republicans considering a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

In a list of proposals released Tuesday, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said that in light of "significant changes" the Affordable Care Act will see, the group was highlighting the "key principles that, if followed, will help ensure a stable, competitive market that delivers real choice, high quality, and affordable care." Their requests anticipate a GOP Obamacare repeal maneuver that health care policy experts warn will destabilize the individual insurance market, even if lawmakers include a delay of the repeal provisions in the bill they push early next year.

"We still have more questions than answers,” AHIP president and CEO Marilyn Tavenner told the New York Times. “We don’t want to disrupt individuals who are relying on our coverage.”

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If Republicans go through with their plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act using a similar model as their failed 2015 Obamacare repeal, the number of uninsured would double, a new report by the Urban Institute report warns. Taking into account the two or so year delay GOP lawmakers say they will include in the repeal bill, the non-partisan think tank estimates that in 2019 the number of uninsured nonelderly people would rise from about 29 million to nearly 59 million. The report also notes that since the 2015 version of the legislation repealed the individual mandate right away while delaying other repeal aspects, some impacts of the version the GOP might pass could be felt right away.

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Republican Senate leaders said Tuesday that they plan to charge through with their plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act as soon as the new Congress convenes in January.

"Obamacare repeal resolution will be the first item up in the new year," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said at his weekly press conference after the GOP caucus lunch.

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