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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Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch told reporters Tuesday that he would give Democrats "more time" to come around on their boycott of a committee meeting to vote on two of President Trump's cabinet nominees before changing the committee rules to advance the nominees to a floor vote.

Earlier Tuesday, at the morning meeting where the Finance Committee was scheduled to vote on the confirmations, Hatch said that he was "disappointed" with Democrats' refusal to show up at the meeting, stalling the confirmation process for Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as Health and Human Services secretary and Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary.

"Now I am hopeful that when we schedule this again, that they'll be here," Hatch said Tuesday morning. "But we are going to do this again, throughout the day and see if they will come and do the job that they have been elected and sworn to do."

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Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted the committee's Tuesday morning mark-up meeting, where members were expected to vote on President Trump's nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), and his nominee for Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin.

"I am really disappointed that my friends on the other side -- our Democrats on the other side are deliberately boycotting this mark up," Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said at the meeting. Because the committee is not at a quorum, Republicans cannot move forward in advancing the nominees.

"Why that's an important thing for them I'll never understand, because these two nominee are going to go through," Hatch said.

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When then-candidate Donald Trump was stirring controversy after controversy from the stump, GOP lawmakers, wary of his proposals, vowed that they would be a check on Trump's most troubling ideas.

Less than two weeks into his presidency, Republicans are facing a major test of that vow. A broad swath of congressional GOPers have come out against Trump's immigration executive order, which was an outgrowth of his proposed Muslim ban that Republicans roundly condemned during the campaign. What lawmakers will do to act on their concerns remains to be seen.

Here is a look at what some Republicans said when the immigration ban and other extreme Trump proposals were raised during the campaign.

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The White House announced Monday that it had fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who had reportedly ordered the Department of Justice not to defend the controversial immigration executive order President Trump signed Friday. Yates had "betrayed the Department of Justice," by refusing to defend the order, a White House press release said.

Dana Boente, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has replaced Yates as Acting Attorney General, the White House said. Boente was appointed to the U.S. Attorney position by former President Obama in 2015.

According to a White House pool report, senior assistant press secretary Michael Short told the pool reporter that Boente had been sworn in around 9 p.m. and that he had the authority to sign foreign surveillance warrants.

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Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) said that it was possible that Congress would take legislative action to address the concerns lawmakers have raised about President Trump's immigration executive order, if the administration wasn't able to clear up the issues in the next few days.

"I think they understand it was a misfire here," Corker told reporters Monday on Capitol Hill. "I'd rather them have a few days to come back and talk to us a little bit more about what they're really going to do, and then I'd judge that, and then there might be some legislative action. "

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Republicans have hinted that they intend to use their Obamacare repeal push to transform Medicaid into a block grant system, a long-held GOP policy dream that faces deep resistance from state officials and could make the already treacherous territory around repeal of the Affordable Care Act more complicated.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway earlier this month pointed to Medicaid block grants as one of the options the Trump administration was considering as part of its plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Lawmakers at last week's GOP congressional retreat in Philadelphia also raised an overhaul of the program as a possibility.

However, to do so, they would have to muddle through numerous tough policy questions and trade-offs that could pit GOP lawmakers against each other, if the past attempts to block grant Medicaid are any guide. Meanwhile, governors, including some Republicans, have expressed wariness of any Medicaid proposals that would shift its costs to their states.

Here are 5 points on the GOP push to block grant Medicaid.

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The office within the Department of Justice that typically advises the White House on legal actions, including executive orders, was unable to confirm that it had reviewed the executive orders issued by President Trump in recent days.

According to an NPR report, published Friday, the Department of Justice said "no comment" when asked whether its Office of Legal Counsel had reviewed the recent orders. As the report noted, the office's own website says that executive orders issued by the president "are reviewed by the Office of Legal Counsel for form and legality, as are various other matters that require the President's formal approval."

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PHILADELPHIA -- President Donald Trump, in remarks to a GOP retreat in Philadelphia Thursday, hinted at his administration's plans for a major investigation into voter fraud.

"We also need to keep the ballot box safe from illegal voting," Trump said. "Believe me, you take look at what is registering, folks -- they like to say,
Oh, Trump Trump Trump... take a look at what is registering.'"

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PHILADELPHIA -- Republican Congressional leaders signaled Thursday they were not interested in re-opening the debate on torture, after a leaked draft of a Trump administration executive order suggested the White House was seeking to bring back so-called CIA "black sites" and launch a review of currently-banned torture tactics.

"Well, I think the director of the CIA has made it clear, he’s going to follow the law," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters at the congressional GOP retreat in Philadelphia. "And I believe virtually all my members are comfortable with the state of the law on that issue.”

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PHILADELPHIA – Infrastructure wasn't originally part of congressional Republicans' plans for the first 200 days, but it was added out of deference to President Donald Trump, a Republican House member told reporters.

"The President asked that the infrastructure piece be included in the 200-day plan. And the impression that I got is that the Speaker [Paul Ryan] recognizes the importance of that to the President and that is now part of the 200-day plan," Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) told reporters at the GOP retreat in Philadelphia Wednesday.

"Initially without the President’s input, that would not have been the case, but our President has been pretty clear on setting his priorities,” he said.

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