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Rand Paul Wins Big on ‘Skinny Repeal’ After Multiple Meetings With Trump

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Today’s “skinny repeal” plan for Obamacare was a big win for Senator Rand Paul, who had come up with this fallback strategy during discussions with President Donald Trump.

Senate Republicans will now move ahead with their Obamacare repeal debate, after a tie breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska went against their party and voted “no” along with the Democrats. Not a single Democrat voted yes.

The aim now will be to repeal three key parts of Obamacare, the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax.

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Senator Paul had opposed previous versions of replacement plans which he referred to as “Obamacare-lite,” and became a crucial voice in coming to an agreement that would work.

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“Renaming and keeping parts of Obamacare, new entitlements and extending medicaid expansion are not the #FullRepeal we promised,” he tweeted in March.

In several conversations, in person and on the phone, sources tell Big League Politics that Senator Paul and President Trump discussed how the senator could get to a “yes” vote. On the one hand, there were many policy issues that could be fixed. But on the other hand, Senator Paul was willing to vote for a “skinny” or smaller version of a clean repeal, as long as it did not have the massive spending and insurance bailouts of the Senate leadership bill.

As discussions continued with the president, Paul brought this “skinny repeal” plan to Senate leadership multiple times. Today, he was given what he asked for.

In order for Paul to vote “yes,” Senate had to agree to a clean vote on the 2015 repeal (which they previously passed) along with the Senate leader bill (BCRA), which needed a 60-vote threshold to pass, which meant that it was surely unable to pass — as they did not have Democrat votes. If those failed, they would move to passing a repeal of as many mandates and taxes as they could agree on.

While this isn’t the full repeal that Paul was after, it is clean and avoids the additional spending and bailouts.

Prior to the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Obamacare a “failed left-wing experiment.” He added that he was in agreement with President Trump, that “any senator who votes against starting a debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, and that it’s a “position even Democrats have found hard to defend.”

Congress

He Found His Spine: Vulnerable Senator Cory Gardner Vows to Support Trump’s SCOTUS Nominee

Gardner found his backbone.

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Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has often been at odds with the Trump movement, being a favorite of the GOP establishment’s Senate Leadership Fund.

This is why his recent declaration that he will be supporting President Donald Trump’s choice to succeed the deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg is so surprising. He made the announcement in a Twitter post on Monday.

“When a President exercises constitutional authority to nominate a judge for the Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate must decide how to best fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent,” Gardner said in his official statement.

“I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect the Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law. Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm,” he added.

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The official statement can be seen here:

The president’s pick for the Supreme Court will certainly fit Gardner’s criteria. Trump has announced that he will be appointing a woman to the bench.

One top contender – Amy Comey Barrett – recently made a trip to the White House, as Big League Politics has reported:

Judge Amy Coney Barrett visited the White House on Monday, as President Donald Trump zeroes in on selecting a nominee to fill the vacant seat on the US Supreme Court.

Barrett is reportedly a front-runner for the judicial nomination. She’s a generally conservative judge, with a staunch pro-life record. Her track record on immigration law issues is generally conservative.

Barrett currently serves as a circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has advised President Trump that she is his preferred candidate for the seat on the court.

President Trump had confirmed that he plans to nominate a woman to fill the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died of complications from pancreatic cancer on Friday.

Democrats have launched a full-fledged fit urging President Trump to give them a break and decline to nominate a conservative justice, but they won’t be so lucky. Republican Senators and President Trump have rallied around the notion of appointing a justice before the November election, fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.

Trump confirmed that he would be revealing the identity of his judicial nominee on Friday or Saturday, taking a few extra days to vet candidates. Florida Judge Barbara Lagoa is reportedly another candidate being considered for the nomination.

It’ll be inherently harder for incensed, power-thirsty Democrats to attack a female judicial candidate. Maybe they’ll alienate swing female voters through waging a scorched earth campaign to block the confirmation of Barrett, who is a mother of seven.

The Republicans have a great opportunity to score a major political victory and really stick it to the extreme Left with this expedited SCOTUS confirmation. The fact that a moderate like Gardner is on board is a great sign that the confirmation is likely to occur before November’s election.

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