RNC raises $75.4 million so far this year

Jul 20, 2017 22

The Republican National Committee said Thursday it has raised $75.4 million so far this year, including $13.5 million in June.

“Our unparalleled fundraising success is due to our loyal network of grassroots donors all across America who support President Trump and our Republican agenda,” RNC chairman Ronna McDaniel said.

“Because of the generous contributions, the RNC will continue to promote conservative values while bolstering our efforts to support, defend, and elect more Republicans.”

RNC finance chairman Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas casino magnate, argued the numbers are a “testament” to GOP support for Trump.

“Month after month, the RNC continues to break fundraising records, another testament to the overwhelming support this Republican administration continues to receive from Alaska to Alabama,” Wynn said. “It has never been more evident that Republicans are united towards a common goal of making this country great again.”
 

NRA, eschewing talk of guns, ratchets up rhetoric

Jul 20, 2017 17

Buoyed by soaring gun sales and a White House supportive of its efforts, the National Rifle Association has charted a new course in its messaging, employing the group’s sophisticated communications apparatus to attack liberal politicians and activist groups, as well as mainstream news outlets, without ever mentioning guns, rifles, or the Second Amendment.

“They use their media to assassinate real news,” NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch said, addressing the camera directly, in a minute-long video posted in April and brimming with images of anti-Trump protests turned violent.

“And then they use their ex-president to endorse their resistance, all to make them march, make them protest, make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia, to smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law-abiding until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness. And when that happens, they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage.”

In a six-minute video posted on the NRA website earlier this month – a few weeks after a deranged liberal activist shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a congressional baseball practice – NRA commentator Dom Raso, a former Navy SEAL, again assailed Democratic officials, accusing former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and others of using propaganda to foment political violence.

Raso branded the movement that styles itself “the resistance” to President Trump and his administration’s policies a vehicle for promoting “an organized anarchy that’s becoming unmanageable,” and likened the tactics of the left to those of radical Islamic terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Contacted by Fox News, NRA officers declined to comment, saying they do not discuss their media strategy in public. But analysts and communications specialists said the shift in the thrust and tone of the group’s messaging was unmistakable – especially for a non-profit advocacy group that is already among the richest and most powerful in America, winning most of its policy battles and gaining new members by the day.

“There comes a point where advocacy groups or corporations or public figures get tired of being in the hands of journalists that don’t like them,” said Eric Dezenhall, owner of a Washington-based PR firm that bills itself as “the nation’s leading high-stakes communications consultancy.” “And nowadays you can do something that you couldn’t do before, which is invent your own journalism. That wasn’t an option, really, twenty years ago.”

Howard Kurtz, the veteran reporter and host of “MediaBuzz” on Fox News, said the latest NRA videos were unlike any he had seen before, “very aggressive” in their positioning of the group as sympathetic to supporters of the new occupant of the Oval Office.

“These NRA videos embrace the Trump agenda and go after his critics,” Kurtz said. “No longer having a Barack Obama to campaign against, it wants to send a broader kind of message because it has a pro-Second Amendment president in Donald Trump.”

Yet he also thought the strategy “somewhat risky,” insofar as the group’s videos, he said, conflate peaceful protest with anarchy: “[It] could turn some people off politically who might otherwise be inclined to support the message of people being able to buy guns.”

When the Washington Post noted the pivot in an article headlined “NRA’s Dark New Video Talks Politics, Not Guns,” the group fired back with still another video, in which NRA host Grant Stinchfield excoriated the newspaper as “fake news” and questioned the credentials of reporter Alex Horton, the Iraq War veteran who wrote the story.

“They trot out a general assignment reporter, Alex Horton, to call Dom Raso’s video dark, and they tell us we can’t have an opinion unless it’s about guns,” Stinchfield said. “We talk about more than guns because every freedom is connected if one is threatened, they all are threatened.”

Horton declined to comment to Fox News but posted a tweet shortly after Stinchfield’s video appeared asking what exactly the NRA host was “warning” him and the Post to beware. Stinchfield’s video contained no explicit warning to the newspaper or the reporter but did carry an exhortation that they should worry not about “how many guns are in our videos” but instead “about how many facts are in your articles.”

Liberal groups typically opposed to the NRA’s Second Amendment advocacy reacted, not surprisingly, with derision for the group’s retooled messaging. “You’re a vicious hatemonger and ur ads are putting peaceful activists in danger,” the group Justice League NYC tweeted at Loesch this week.

While declining to comment for this report, NRA representatives forwarded to Fox News recent published reporting on FBI statistics indicating that 2017 is on pace to be the biggest year ever for gun sales. 

James Rosen joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999. He currently serves as the chief Washington correspondent and hosts the online show “The Foxhole.” His latest book is “A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century” (Crown Forum, October 4, 2016).  

Ex-Obama official who urged anti-Trump 'leaking' lobs new accusations at president

Jul 20, 2017 19

A former Obama administration official who earlier this year acknowledged urging her D.C. contacts to leak dirt on President Trump’s team returned to the spotlight Thursday – using an appearance at a security forum to accuse the president of “Kremlin tactics” and openly question whether he owes the Russians money.

Evelyn Farkas, who left the Obama administration in 2015 after serving as a deputy assistant secretary of defense, spoke on a panel Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. She took aim at Trump for past remarks that the United States, like Russia, has killed people too.

“That’s very dangerous,” Farkas said, accusing the president of adopting “Kremlin tactics” with that “language of relativism.”

In February, Bill O’Reilly told Trump during a Fox News Channel interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is a killer.” Trump replied: “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?”

On Thursday, Farkas floated a theory, without citing evidence, that the president may actually owe money to Russia, something that could be influencing his posture toward the government.

“The influence these Russians have on him could be greater because of these business ties and because he may owe them money and of course the issue of his campaign manager and all the work he was doing and whether he was indebted to Russians or not,” she said.

During an interview with the New York Times this week, the president denied his company did business with Russia. “My finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company,” he said, according to the transcript. “I don’t do business with Russia.”

Farkas got attention after a March interview on MSNBC when she said there had been a rush from Obama-era government officials to share information before President Trump took office.

“I was urging my former colleagues, and frankly speaking, the people on the Hill … ‘get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration,’ because I had a fear that, somehow, that information would disappear with the senior people who left,” she said.

Farkas added, “That’s why you have the leaking, because people were worried.”

OBAMA OFFICIALS PRESSURED BY FARKAS FOR MONTHS TO SPILL BEANS ON TRUMP-RUSSIA TIES

During her appearance at the Aspen Security Forum, Farkas offered criticism of former FBI Director James Comey’s recent prediction that the Russians will again try to meddle in an American election.

“It drives me crazy when former Director Comey says ‘the Russians are coming back,’” Farkas said. “They never left. They’re still here, they still have all that information, they’re in our cyber and in our information sphere.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Fox News Poll: 68 percent of voters are concerned about war with North Korea

Jul 20, 2017 24

A majority of American voters thinks military force will be required to stop North Korea from continuing work on nuclear weapons — and half favor the U.S. using such force.

Fifty-five percent in the latest Fox News Poll say U.S. military force will be required to stop North Korea’s work on nuclear weapons. It was 51 percent in April. Since that time, North Korea has conducted several missile tests, including the successful July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL POLL RESULTS

Three in ten voters think diplomacy alone is the answer (29 percent), down from 36 percent in April.

Just over half, 51 percent, favor taking military action, while 37 percent are opposed.

Republicans (73 percent) and independents (56 percent) are far more likely than Democrats (39 percent) to think military force will be required. And twice as many Republicans (73 percent) as Democrats (35 percent) favor taking military action. 

Meanwhile, almost seven in ten voters (68 percent) are concerned about a war with North Korea (29 percent are not). Majorities across the board feel that way: men (60 percent), women (76 percent), voters under age 45 (64 percent), ages 45 and over (71 percent), Democrats (78 percent), Republicans (60 percent) and independents (63 percent).

War with North Korea isn’t the biggest worry for voters right now, however. Larger numbers are concerned with health care (82 percent concerned), the future of the country (81 percent) and the nation’s economy (75 percent). 

How do voters feel the president is doing on North Korea? More (45 percent) disapprove than approve (41 percent) of the job President Donald Trump is doing handling North Korea. 

Moreover, he has a net negative job rating (approve minus disapprove) on every issue tested: the economy (45 approve-46 disapprove), immigration (42-53), Syria (40-45), Iran (37-44), Russia (33-56), and health care (32-59).  

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,020 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from July 16-18, 2017.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters. 

Maxine Waters' New Hampshire cameo spurs questions over possible 2020 presidential run

Jul 20, 2017 50

Her relentless and no-holds-barred attacks on President Trump have cemented Rep. Maxine Waters as a leader of the left’s “resistance.” But a planned visit to New Hampshire this weekend has some asking whether a longshot 2020 bid might even be in the cards.

The California Democrat is scheduled to headline the Strafford County Democratic Party’s annual picnic in New Durham on Sunday, according to the party’s website.

The invitation describes Waters as “one of the most powerful women in American politics today.”

It never being too early to discuss the next presidential race, the appearance in the host state of the first-in-the-nation primary set off a round of media chatter. 

DEM REPS FILE ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT 

A local news report on the appearance was plastered on top of The Drudge Report Thursday morning, as an article in The Gateway Pundit asked, “Maxine Waters 2020?” 

Waters’ office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment about the presidential chatter. 

She’ll be joined at the event by Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H. According to Grantite State Republicans, the appearance is little more than a boost for a local state Senate candidate.  

“It is disappointing that [Democratic candidate] Kevin Cavanaugh invited Maxine Waters to NH to fund raise for him. It simply reconfirms that he is out of touch with the voters of New Hampshire,” Jeanie Forrester, New Hampshire GOP chairwoman, told Fox News in an email. 

“NH voters are tired of partisanship and Maxine is the epitome of that with her very public comments about opposing President Trump,” she added. 

Waters, an early adopter in the Trump impeachment push being waged formally by some of her House colleagues, has become one of the more prominent anti-Trump voices in the Democratic Party, a position she relishes.

“They like the way that I don’t camouflage how I feel. They don’t see elected officials act that way,” she admitted in a recent New York Times Magazine interview. “I have been adopted by the millennials, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.” 

She also said Trump should have been “convicted” of a crime “numerous” times and again called for impeachment. 

Waters’ gravitas with the grassroots may garner more invitations but her appearance already is being used by political opponents.

“I am calling on Congresswoman Shea-Porter to definitively refuse to attend the fundraiser with Congresswoman Waters,” Eddie Edwards, a Republican challenging Shea-Porter in the state’s First District, said in a July 19 press release.

Edwards is trying to tag Shea-Porter with the vote Waters took against the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act in June.

“Furthermore, our congresswoman should take immediate action to publicly ask the county committee to recant their invitation for Waters to speak at an event that will assist in raising funds to benefit Shea-Porter and her campaign.”

Whether Waters can turn her stardom into dollars for the Democratic Party remains in question.

Waters’ campaign committee, Citizens for Waters, raised just $12,600 in individual contributions during the April 1-June 30 period, according to her latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing.

Trump 'still has confidence' in Sessions, White House says

Jul 20, 2017 18

The White House said Thursday that President Trump “still has confidence” in Jeff Sessions despite his harsh criticism a day earlier, as the attorney general also told reporters he would stay on the job for as long as “appropriate.” 

The president had lashed out at the nation’s top law enforcement official in a New York Times interview, faulting him for recusing himself from the Russia probe and suggesting he wouldn’t have hired him had he known in advance. As the president’s comments reverberated across Washington, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was peppered with questions about the president’s confidence level in the AG. 

“As he said yesterday, he was disappointed in Attorney General Sessions’ decision to recuse himself, but clearly he has confidence in him or he would not be the attorney general,” Sanders said. She said Trump spoke “very clearly” about Sessions’ decision to recuse and that the attorney general “certainly did not tell him” of his recusal plans before taking the job.

TRUMP SETS RED LINE FOR MUELLER

When asked whether Trump would seek Sessions’ resignation, she said: “I think you know this president well enough to know that if he wanted somebody to take an action, he would make that quite clear.”

Sanders also was pressed as to whether Trump had confidence in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“If the president didn’t have confidence, he wouldn’t be in that position,” Sanders said.

Hours earlier, Sessions also told reporters, in a press conference scheduled to discuss cybercrime, that he planned to stay at his post. 

“We in this Department of Justice will continue every single day to work hard to serve the national interest, and we whole-heartedly join in priorities of President Trump,” Sessions said. “I have the honor of serving as attorney general. It’s something that goes beyond any thought that I’ve ever had for myself.”

Sessions added: “We love this job, and we love this department and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.”

Sessions was pressed as to whether he could run the DOJ after the Times interview raised questions about the president’s confidence level. 

“We’re serving right now—the work we’re doing is the kind of work we intend to continue,” Sessions said. 

Sessions, one of Trump’s early Republican supporters, recused himself from overseeing the FBI’s Russia probe on March 2, after media reports he had conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. that he did not disclose. 

Last month, the Times reported that Sessions offered the president his resignation, but that Trump did not accept. When asked about the reports during Thursday’s briefing, Sanders said she was “not aware of that taking place.” 

In his Wednesday interview with the same newspaper, Trump slammed Sessions and said his recusal was “very unfair to the president,” adding he would never have appointed him attorney general if he had known he would do so.

“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself?” Trump asked. “If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.” 

Brooke Singman is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Maxine Waters' New Hampshire cameo spurs 2020 questions

Jul 20, 2017 25

Her relentless and no-holds-barred attacks on President Trump have cemented Rep. Maxine Waters as a leader of the left’s “resistance.” But a planned visit to New Hampshire this weekend has some asking whether a longshot 2020 bid might even be in the cards.

The California Democrat is scheduled to headline the Strafford County Democratic Party’s annual picnic in New Durham on Sunday, according to the party’s website.

The invitation describes Waters as “one of the most powerful women in American politics today.”

It never being too early to discuss the next presidential race, the appearance in the host state of the first-in-the-nation primary set off a round of media chatter. 

DEM REPS FILE ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT 

A local news report on the appearance was plastered on top of The Drudge Report Thursday morning, as an article in The Gateway Pundit asked, “Maxine Waters 2020?” 

Waters’ office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment about the presidential chatter. 

She’ll be joined at the event by Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H. According to Grantite State Republicans, the appearance is little more than a boost for a local state Senate candidate.  

“It is disappointing that [Democratic candidate] Kevin Cavanaugh invited Maxine Waters to NH to fund raise for him. It simply reconfirms that he is out of touch with the voters of New Hampshire,” Jeanie Forrester, New Hampshire GOP chairwoman, told Fox News in an email. 

“NH voters are tired of partisanship and Maxine is the epitome of that with her very public comments about opposing President Trump,” she added. 

Waters, an early adopter in the Trump impeachment push being waged formally by some of her House colleagues, has become one of the more prominent anti-Trump voices in the Democratic Party, a position she relishes.

“They like the way that I don’t camouflage how I feel. They don’t see elected officials act that way,” she admitted in a recent New York Times Magazine interview. “I have been adopted by the millennials, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.” 

She also said Trump should have been “convicted” of a crime “numerous” times and again called for impeachment. 

Waters’ gravitas with the grassroots may garner more invitations but her appearance already is being used by political opponents.

“I am calling on Congresswoman Shea-Porter to definitively refuse to attend the fundraiser with Congresswoman Waters,” Eddie Edwards, a Republican challenging Shea-Porter in the state’s First District, said in a July 19 press release.

Edwards is trying to tag Shea-Porter with the vote Waters took against the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act in June.

“Furthermore, our congresswoman should take immediate action to publicly ask the county committee to recant their invitation for Waters to speak at an event that will assist in raising funds to benefit Shea-Porter and her campaign.”

Whether Waters can turn her stardom into dollars for the Democratic Party remains in question.

Waters’ campaign committee, Citizens for Waters, raised just $12,600 in individual contributions during the April 1-June 30 period, according to her latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing.

Exxon fined $2M for Tillerson-era breach of Russia sanctions

Jul 20, 2017 20

Exxon Mobil Corp. showed “reckless disregard” for U.S. sanctions on Russia while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the oil giant’s CEO, the Treasury Department said Thursday. The U.S. fined the company $2 million.

Treasury said that Exxon violated sanctions when it signed contracts in May 2014 with Russian oil magnate Igor Sechin, chairman of government-owned energy giant Rosneft. The U.S. blacklisted Sechin, Tillerson’s longtime business associate, as part of its response to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

The same month that Exxon signed the deals, Tillerson said the company generally opposes sanctions and finds them “ineffective.”

As America’s top diplomat, Tillerson has insisted the sanctions will stay in place until Russia reverses course in Ukraine and gives back Crimea. Still, the sanctions breach on his watch raises significant questions about his ability to credibly enforce the sanctions and to persuade European countries to keep doing so.

Exxon, in a statement, countered that it had done nothing wrong and complained that the fine was unfair. The State Department declined to comment on Tillerson’s role, referring all questions to Exxon.

Yet the Treasury Department said that Exxon’s “senior-most executives” knew Sechin was blacklisted when two of its subsidiaries signed deals with him. The Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, said Exxon caused “significant harm” to the sanctions program by engaging in transactions with a Russian government official contributing to the Ukraine crisis.

The dispute between Exxon and the government stems from a disagreement about whether the sanctions differentiated between “professional” and “personal” interactions with Sechin, who had been blacklisted only weeks earlier.

Maintaining its innocence, Exxon said that “clear guidance” from the White House and Treasury Department had indicated only engaging with Sechin in a personal capacity was prohibited. It noted that Rosneft was not subject to sanctions at the time.

Not so, said the Treasury Department, arguing that the government never gave Exxon or anyone else a reason to believe there was an exception for professional dealings. The government noted that its website at the time explicitly warned companies not to enter any contracts signed by people on the blacklist.

The U.S. said that the presidents of two Exxon’s subsidiaries and Sechin had signed eight legal documents in May 2014. That same month, Neil Duffin, president of subsidiary Exxon Mobil Development, signed several deals to continue their work on the massive Sakhalin oil and natural gas project on Russia’s eastern coast.

A photo posted on Rosneft’s website shows Sechin and Duffin smiling broadly and shaking hands at a conference table with documents and a pen in front of them. A few days later, Tillerson was unambiguous about Exxon’s opposition to the sanctions during his company’s annual meeting.

“We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don’t find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensibly and that’s a very hard thing to do,” Tillerson said at Exxon’s 2014 annual meeting.

Tillerson had played a central role over the years in developing that multibillion dollar deal. Tillerson knew both Sechin and Russian President Vladimir Putin for more than a decade before he became secretary of state.

The Treasury Department called the violation an “egregious case” and noted that Exxon “is a sophisticated and experienced oil and gas company that has global operations” and should know better when it comes to U.S. sanctions. It leveled the statutory maximum civil penal of $2 million for the breaches.

In its statement, Exxon maintained its innocence, saying that the government was “trying to retroactively enforce a new interpretation of an executive order.”

“OFAC’s action is fundamentally unfair,” the company said.

After the Ukraine-related sanctions put in place under President Barack Obama, Tillerson saw Exxon’s stake in a lucrative offshore drilling project with Rosneft come under threat. Tillerson visited the White House numerous times as CEO in the immediate aftermath of the sanctions being announced, but they remained in place.

Concerns about Tillerson’s potential conflict of interest dominated his confirmation hearings in January, and the secretary has recused himself from matters dealing with his former company. It was unclear whether other State Department officials played a role in determining Exxon had violated the sanctions, but typically the Treasury oversees enforcement.

As a diplomat, Tillerson has struck a different tone on sanctions and sought to maintain pressure on Russia to stop interfering in eastern Ukraine.

“The U.S. and EU sanctions on Russia will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered these particular sanctions,” Tillerson said earlier this month during a visit to Ukraine.

Exxon sues Treasury after hit with $2M fine for Tillerson-era sanctions breach

Jul 20, 2017 10

Exxon Mobil Corp. must pay a $2 million fine for showing “reckless disregard” for U.S. sanctions on Russia while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was the oil giant’s CEO, the Treasury Department said Thursday. Exxon sued the U.S. government to stop the fine.

Treasury said that Exxon violated sanctions when it signed contracts in May 2014 with Russian oil magnate Igor Sechin, chairman of government-owned energy giant Rosneft. The U.S. blacklisted Sechin, Tillerson’s longtime business associate, as part of its response to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

The same month that Exxon signed the deals, Tillerson said the company generally opposes sanctions and finds them “ineffective.”

Exxon maintained it had done nothing wrong. Hours after the fine was announced, the Texas-based company sued Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the government, saying the U.S. had clearly told companies that doing business with Rosneft was allowed — just not with Sechin himself.

As America’s top diplomat, Tillerson has insisted the sanctions will stay in place until Russia reverses course in Ukraine and gives back Crimea. Still, the sanctions breach on his watch raises significant questions about his ability to credibly enforce the sanctions and to persuade European countries to keep doing so.

Yet the Treasury Department said that Exxon’s “senior-most executives” knew Sechin was blacklisted when two of its subsidiaries signed deals with him. The Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, said Exxon caused “significant harm” to the sanctions program.

The dispute between Exxon and the government centers on whether the sanctions differentiated between “professional” and “personal” interactions with Sechin, who had been blacklisted only weeks earlier.

Exxon, in its lawsuit, noted that the former Obama administration had said the sanctions strategy was to target individuals like Sechin who were contributing to the Ukraine crisis — not the companies they might manage on Russia’s behalf. The company pointed out that a Treasury Department spokesman had even said it would be permissible for an American CEO to attend a Rosneft board meeting with Sechin as long as it wasn’t related to Sechin’s “personal business.” Rosneft itself was not subject to sanctions at the time.

“OFAC seeks to retroactively enforce a new interpretation of an executive order that is inconsistent with the explicit and unambiguous guidance from the White House and Treasury,” Exxon said in the suit.

Not so, said the Treasury Department, arguing that the government never gave Exxon or anyone else a reason to believe there was an exception for professional dealings. The government noted that its website at the time explicitly warned companies not to enter any contracts signed by people on the blacklist.

The U.S. said that the presidents of two Exxon’s subsidiaries and Sechin had signed eight legal documents in May 2014. That same month, Neil Duffin, president of subsidiary Exxon Mobil Development, signed several deals to continue their work on the massive Sakhalin oil and natural gas project on Russia’s eastern coast.

Analysts say new health bill would leave 22M more uninsured

Jul 20, 2017 20

The Congressional Budget Office estimates a revised version of the Senate Republican health care bill would increase the number of uninsured people by 22 million by 2026.

That’s the same number projected to lose coverage under the first version of the legislation.

The huge boost in uninsured people is one reason GOP leaders face an uphill battle in winning over enough Republicans to push their legislation through the Senate.

The new estimate excludes the impact of the most important change Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made in his bill. That’s language by conservative Sen. Ted Cruz letting insurers sell low-cost policies with bare-bones coverage.

The coverage impact of that provision is uncertain. Many think it would drive down the number of sick customers who could afford policies.