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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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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A key Republican senator in the GOP's effort to repeal Obamacare signaled that he was on board for the party's repeal-and-delay plan, but stressed that "the sooner we can come up with a replacement the better."

"Our goal is to repeal Obamacare, have a transition period, and then replace it," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the chair of the Senate Heath, Labor, Education, and Pensions Committee, told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday. "And to do that in an orderly, sensible way that helps people and doesn't hurt them."

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President-elect Donald Trump will meet Friday with Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), who hails from a state that voted decisively for Trump and who is up for re-election in 2018.

The meeting -- which will take place in New York, where Trump has been hosting most of his meetings since his election -- was first announced on a Trump transition team call Thursday morning. Heitkamp confirmed the plans for a meeting in a statement released shortly thereafter that suggested she was open to assisting Trump.

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Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he welcomed a fight with Republicans over their attempts to privatize Medicare and signaled Democrats' plans to make it a major issue in confirmation hearings for Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of health and human services.

"Between this nomination, an avowed Medicare opponent, and Republicans here in Washington threatening to privatize Medicare, it's clear that Washington Republicans are plotting a war on seniors next year," Schumer said at a press conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill. "Every senior in America should hear this loudly and clearly: Democrats will not let them win that fight."

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Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) hopes to hold confirmation hearings for Donald Trump's pick for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), before Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Grassley's desire to expedite confirmation for Sessions, whose selection has prompted concern due to his hostility towards civil rights laws, was news to the senator who will be the top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who told TPM Tuesday she was unaware of the plan.

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Those worried that Donald Trump would waffle on his promise to repeal Obamacare will find some of those concerns quelled with his nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Price, a doctor who chairs the House Budget Committee, has been one of the most vocal critics of Obamacare and has offered multiple replacement plans over the years.

Just last month, he called the Affordable Care Act a “ridiculous” law with “failures” that “have been piling up.”

He promised a "a clean break with the past," including "a plan to repeal Obamacare and start over with real, patient-centered solutions – that puts patients and families and doctors in charge – not Washington DC."

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As Republicans scramble to figure out what to do about Obamacare now that that Donald Trump’s surprise election gave them the White House, a contingency of hardliners have rallied around repealing the Affordable Care Act almost immediately -- but with a delay to buy Congress some time to cobble together a replacement.

"It’s my own opinion that we should make a decisive move to repeal promptly with a trigger date so that all of us are motivated to come up with the best possible replacement plan,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) told TPM on the Hill prior to the Thanksgiving recess. And other conservative firebrands, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), have endorsed the idea of dismantling the ACA right off the bat and letting an alternative plan come together after.

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Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein filed a request for a recount in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Election Commission confirmed on Twitter Friday. Another presidential candidate in the state Rocky Roque De La Fuente also petitioned for a recount.

“The Commission is preparing to move forward with a statewide recount of votes for President of the United States, as requested by these candidates,” Michael Haas, the elections commissions administrator, said in a press statement released shortly after the tweet. “We have assembled an internal team to direct the recount, we have been in close consultation with our county clerk partners, and have arranged for legal representation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice."

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President-elect Donald Trump has named Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland — who has served in the Pentagon under Republican administrations and more recently appeared as a national security analyst on Fox News — to be his deputy national security advisor. The transition team announced her selection Friday afternoon after reports by Bloomberg and the New York Times that morning that she had been picked.

“I am proud that KT has once again decided to serve our country and join my national security team,” Trump said in the transition team statement. “She has tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing is more important than keeping our people safe.”

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President-elect Donald Trump's announcement Wednesday that he would nominate GOP megadonor Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education was welcomed by Republicans, particularly those passionate about charter schools and school vouchers, which DeVos has championed.

Progressives, meanwhile, warned that her selection was dangerous for public education and pointed to other controversial causes, including anti-LGBT initiatives and anti-abortion measures, that DeVos and her family have supported.

Here's what you need to know about Trump's pick to lead the Department of Education.

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