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Immigration provision cut from Obamacare rollback, angering conservatives

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Some conservatives in Washington were fuming on Tuesday after an Obamacare rollback bill was tweaked by Republican leaders to delete a provision meant to crack down on illegal immigrants getting federal healthcare insurance coverage.

The development posed another problem for Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and President Donald Trump, who are trying to win congressional approval of the wider bill, the first big legislative test for Trump since taking office.

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The provision would have allowed the Treasury Department to access data at the Department of Homeland Security to verify that healthcare tax credits went only to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, not to illegal immigrants.

In a largely procedural move, it was dropped from the bill after the Senate Parliamentarian determined that the Senate Finance Committee, which handles tax credits under the bill, does not have purview over the Department of Homeland Security.

Republican Representative Lou Barletta issued a statement on Monday evening, after the change was made, saying he could no longer support the bill, citing the obscure provision.

“I am concerned that the bill lacks sufficient safeguards for verifying whether or not an individual applying for health care tax credits is lawfully in this country and eligible to receive them,” said the Pennsylvania lawmaker.

The provision had been a key issue for conservative groups the Trump administration is trying to win over in its efforts to pass the bill known as the American Health Care Act, Trump’s plan to repeal and partly replace Obamacare.

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Some conservatives have criticized the bill since Republican House leadership unveiled it earlier this month, dubbing it “Obamacare Lite” because they say it falls short in repealing Democratic former President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law.

Republican leaders recrafted the bill on Monday in hopes of satisfying conservative and moderate critics. Trump visited Capitol Hill Tuesday seeking to win more support for the bill.

Lauren Aronson, spokeswoman for the tax-writing House Committee on Ways and Means, said the bill keeps the underlying policies of Obamacare that specify only U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are eligible for the tax credits. The bill was expected to go before the full House for a vote on Thursday.

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(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley and Yasmeen Abutaleb; Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Jonathan Oatis)


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Trump declares impeachment ‘dead’ — and demands apology — in late night Twitter outburst

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President Donald Trump lashed out on his favorite social media platform late Thursday evening.

Eight minutes before midnight eastern time, Trump unloaded.

Trump wrote, "Democrats must apologize to USA: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that 'United States Ambassador Gordon Sondland did NOT link financial military assistance to a request for Ukraine to open up an investigation into former V.P. Joe Biden & his son, Hunter Biden. Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigation.'”

Trump did not say why he was taking the word of a foreign official over multiple sworn testimonies from members of his own administration.

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Pelosi is ‘marrying up the facts and the law’: Ex-prosecutor says ‘bribery’ is a critical indictment of Trump

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi was masterful in using the word "bribery" to describe President Donald Trump's actions with Ukraine that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, according to a former federal prosecutor.

MSNBC anchor Brian Williams interviewed former Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger on Thursday evening's "The Last Word."

Please expand for us on why it is significant and why is it important to label this bribery," Williams said.

"So I think Nancy Pelosi was very specific in calling this bribery for two reasons," Berger replied.

"The first is that -- unlike quid pro quo -- ribery is something that most people understand, especially people who have children," she said, with a chuckle. "We all sort of have a general understanding of that."

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Giuliani henchmen showered Republican with cash — and Trump almost made him ambassador to Ukraine: report

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Yet another bombshell report has shed new light on President Donald Trump's suspicious Ukraine policies.

"At the same time that Rudy Giuliani and his now-indicted pals were pushing for President Donald Trump to remove Amb. Marie Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine, Trump administration officials were eyeing potential contenders to take over her job. One of the people in the mix, according to three sources familiar with the discussions, was Rep. Pete Sessions, a former Congressman who called for Yovanovitch’s firing," The Daily Beast reported Thursday night. "He is also a longtime ally of the former New York Mayor, and is believed to have taken millions of dollars from Giuliani’s indicted cronies."

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