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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Today is another big day in the healthcare policy debate. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to announce the results of its examination of the Republican Senate healthcare bill, also known as “The Better Care Reconciliation Act.” The Washington Post offers a good primer on what to look for in the CBO announcement.
The CBO score is expected to show, once again, that Republicans are dealing with a math problem — and not a messaging problem — when it comes to healthcare discussions. The looming report is one of many reasons why many Senate Republicans think the healthcare bill won’t be able to advance much further before next week’s July 4th recess.
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) spent the weekend at a conservative retreat in Colorado Springs hosted by the infamous Koch Brothers. The big message out of the weekend discussions at the Broadmoor Resort and Hotel centered around concerns from major right-wing donors that the Senate healthcare legislation
doesn’t kill enough Americans isn’t more aggressive about eradicating Medicaid. Predictably, Gardner did not find time to talk to a reporter from the Denver Post about the Senate healthcare bill.
► President Trump’s Muslim travel ban earned its first non-loss from the Judicial Branch. As the New York Times explains:
The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would decide whether President Trump’s revised travel ban was lawful, setting the stage for a major decision on the scope of presidential power.
Mr. Trump’s revised executive order, issued in March, limited travel from six mostly Muslim countries for 90 days and suspended the nation’s refugee program for 120 days. The time was needed, the order said, to address gaps in the government’s screening and vetting procedures.
Two federal appeals courts have blocked critical parts of the order.
The administration had asked that the lower court ruling be stayed while the case moved forward. The court granted part of that request in its unsigned opinion.
► Elsewhere in Supreme Court news, the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding will finally be heard this fall. From the Denver Post:
The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it would review the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his beliefs — a legal fight with high stakes for both religious activists and civil-rights advocates.
For months, the high court has vacillated on whether it would hear the appeal of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, whose refusal of service to Charlie Craig and David Mullins was rejected by the Colorado Court of Appeals and the state’s Civil Rights Commission.
There’s been one significant change to the Supreme Court, however, since the case first landed on its steps — the addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch, a native Coloradan who became its ninth member this spring after his nomination by President Donald Trump.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the fate of the free world, made some truly bizarre arguments about allegations of Russian influence in the 2016 election. From the Washington Post:
Due either to his megalomania or his dishonesty, or some combination of the two, Trump has regularly conflated two questions: First, the question of what Russia did to undermine our election; and second, whether the Trump campaign colluded with those efforts. Trump has regularly dismissed the latter question, of course, but this has had the effect of leading him to be unwilling to seriously grapple with the former one, as if fully acknowledging the extent of Russian meddling would be tantamount to acknowledging an attack on him (hence the megalomania-or-dishonesty question). Indeed, Trump said the claims of Russian meddling are a “big Dem HOAX” as early as last week.
But now Trump is fully acknowledging that this meddling did happen (provided he can blame Obama for it). More to the point, though, his tweets this morning admit that our intelligence community not only did conclude this but also that Russia did this to help him win the election. Why would Obama’s inaction in the face of Russian sabotage be grounded in the belief (as Trump claims) that Hillary Clinton was going to win anyway, unless our intelligence officials had concluded that this sabotage was designed to benefit him against her? (That is what officials did conclude, per the report they put out in January.)
► Vice President Mike Pence was in Colorado Springs on Friday to speak at the 40th anniversary of “Focus on the Family,” and he cheerfully told the crowd that Republicans would soon “defund Planned Parenthood once and for all.”
► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is in Washington D.C. — along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich — to voice opposition to Congressional Republican efforts to essentially dismantle healthcare as we know it. From the Denver Post:
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will join Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to brief the press on their opposition to the Senate GOP health care bill.
The news conference is the latest in a string of joint efforts by the Colorado Democrat and the 2016 Republican presidential hopeful to call for a bipartisan approach to health care reform.
“All Americans will come out on the losing end if we simply replace one divisive plan with another, having failed to find a bipartisan solution to bringing lasting reform that can be sustained across administrations,” the pair wrote in an op-ed published last week in The Washington Post.
The duo also appeared on CNN together after co-authoring a letter to Senate leaders expressing their concerns with Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
► Jason Crow, one of several Democrats seeking to run against Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) in 2018, picked up another significant endorsement of his campaign.
► President Trump has elevated a former party planner to a top job in the Housing Department. From Politico:
Six months ago, Lynne Patton was a party planner. Today, she takes the helm of New York’s federal housing office, a promotion she won after making enemies at HUD and fumbling a job as senior adviser to Secretary Ben Carson.
It pays to have been a party planner for the Trumps.
Patronage is as old as politics, but Patton’s swift rise to power has startled even some Trump administration insiders…
…Her resume was a challenge. Rumors of her appointment caused so much heartburn in New York that it made tabloid headlines. When it came time for a formal announcement, Patton tried to juice her own press release, claiming experience she didn’t have, including skill in bipartisan politics. The language was dialed back, according to the people close to Carson.
Carson on Monday released a statement praising Patton’s “energy and enthusiasm” and “strong desire to engage and foster relationships across bipartisan silos.”
Beyond the Trump family, Patton seems to have little job experience. Her LinkedIn page cites Quinnipiac University School of Law, which she attended briefly, and Yale, which she didn’t attend at all.
► President Trump’s biggest accomplishments may be largely based on the retirement decisions of others.
► “You know, I try to stay out of politics,” says Ivanka Trump with a straight face.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke loves him some fossil fuels.
► We may have reached a moment in time where news outlets are forced to rely on “sketch artists” in coverage of the White House.
► President Trump is totally winning if we’re talking about a game in which whoever spews the most lies is the champion.