Alice Ollstein

Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.

Articles by Alice

Despite President Trump’s repeated declarations that “Obamacare is finished … dead … gone,” the first full open enrollment period of the Trump era begins on Wednesday, and the administration has taken some surprisingly strong steps to make it a success.

“It’s been completely bipolar,” health care analyst Charles Gaba told TPM. “They’re helping, they’re hurting, they’re helping, they’re hurting.” 

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Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee announced Saturday afternoon that they will subpoena the bank records of the opposition research firm that produced an explosive dossier about President Donald Trump’s interactions with the Russian government leading up to the 2016 election.

“The parties have reached an agreement related to the House Intelligence Committee’s subpoena for Fusion GPS’s bank records that will secure the Committee’s access to the records necessary for its investigation,” a committee spokesperson said in a statement to reporters.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller, backed by a federal grand jury, has filed the first charges in his investigation into the Trump campaign and administration’s dealings with Russia, according to a report Friday night by CNN later confirmed by Reuters and the Wall Street Journal. At least one individual could be taken into custody as early as Monday. Both the names of the person or person and the charges filed against them remain for now under a judge’s seal.

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Cameron Joseph contributed reporting.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has in recent weeks slammed President Trump as a liar and incompetent leader who is unfit for the White House, told reporters Wednesday that he plans to continue using the Foreign Relations Committee he chairs in the Senate to push back against Trump’s “debasement of our nation” and reign in his executive power.

“We’re going to begin next Monday with the Authorization for Use of Military Force,” Corker said, referring to a bill that would give the military the authority to wage war on extremists around the world—authorization the Trump administration says it does not need. 

“We’re going to be looking at the War Powers Act,” Corker continued. “We’ll be very informative to the American people and the rest of the Senate about what powers the President has, shouldn’t have, whatever. It’s going to be a very robust time beginning Monday night.”

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Tierney Sneed contributed reporting.

Senators left a Tuesday lunch meeting with President Donald Trump just as confused  about his position on stabilizing the individual health insurance market as when they went in.

“We really didn’t get into details on that,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) told reporters, noting that the meeting was cordial and “nobody called anyone an ignorant slut.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) confirmed that Trump “did not give any indication of his position.”

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As a popular bipartisan bill to stabilize Obamacare’s individual insurance market stalls in the Senate, far-right members of the House told reporters Tuesday that it would be dead on arrival if it ever made it to the lower chamber. Asked if they would consider supporting a far more conservative version of the bill, which halts enforcement of the individual and employer mandates, the lawmakers remained opposed, voicing hostility to any legislation that funds or stabilizes the Affordable Care Act.

“I see it playing out by not playing out,” Scott Perry (R-PA) quipped when asked about the prospects in the House of reinstating the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies that President Trump cut off earlier this month.

“Right now it’s a non-starter,” added Freedom Caucus member Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA). “The Senate, first of all, failed to do any semblance of repeal. Then they failed to do a skinny bill. And now they want to do a bipartisan Democrat bill which doesn’t reform Obamacare in any appreciable way.”

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The bipartisan bill to stabilize the individual health insurance market, restore subsidies to insurers to cover low-income patients, restore funding for enrollment outreach, and give states more regulatory flexibility would pass the Senate with a filibuster-proof supermajority—if GOP leadership allows a vote.

But while at least 60 senators are lined up ready to cast their votes in favor of the bill, which was hammered out over months of delicate bipartisan negotiations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is refusing to allow a vote until President Trump gives the bill his blessing.

In this face of this blockade, the Senate’s Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to floor Monday afternoon to plead with the President.

“Let me make a direct appeal,” he said. “Mr. President, come out and support the Alexander-Murray bill. You’ve called it ‘a very good solution’ already. Announce you’ll support it, and it will pass through the Senate soon after.”

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